In the epic I am writing, the protagonist and deuteragonist are sent on a mission by a king to save his daughter kidnapped by mercenaries of the evil empire. They save her, but the deuteragonist begins to develop feelings for her. They eventually start to date, fall in love, but then there's the bad news: She gets killed.

For I just narrated this is merely a long sidequest. This is also meant as character growth for the deuteragonist, and she eventually gets another girlfriend later on in the story. Problem is, I am trying to figure out how to write a love interest who, while only there for a short time, still is meaningful and can make the audience sad once they die. For other problems involved:

  • If you already noticed, this storyline is guilty of the Bury Your Gays trope. Then again, this story has a lot of lgbtq characters (including the protagonist), and many characters die throughout it, both gay and straight

  • Based on some other advice, there is the problem of introducing another love interest. This has already been solved, since the new one was introduced way in the beginning before the deuteragonist, and is well-written. This may not be a problem, but it is to address that this specific problem was already solved

  • The love interest gets brutally killed by the sadistic executioner, but for how it is, it seems like just a cheap way for character growth. The deuteragonist is trying to move on, but eventually encounters the executioner again.

How could a write a short-term love interest, so that they are still a fully-dimensional character AND have a death that actually makes the audience sad and feel bad?

1 Answer 1

  1. Make the death relevant to the plot. The problem I see in your scenario is the sadistic executioner - it feels like a plot device that, as you say, is a cheap way to gain character growth. Can you bring in those mercenaries again? They must be pretty embarrassed at having been thwarted, and presumably the reason they kidnapped the princess is still an issue.
  2. Make it matter to the deuteragonist - she's fallen hard and she's not going to get over this easily. If your deuteragonist is a three-dimensional character we'll feel her loss with her. When you bring in the next romance, consider the host of feelings that she might have about moving on.
  3. Make the princess a rounded character - even if she's not around for very long, you can give her some good dialogue that shows her character, and find ways for her to contribute to the plot, maybe even do something that will have influence after she's gone, so that she's around in spirit if not in body.

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