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83

You don't. To put it in more words: the audience has to get attached to make the death relevant. You want her death to be a wake-up call, a touch of realism and a reminder of what war is. Sure, there is no guarantee that your audience will like the same characters that you like. But if you realize that you've grown fond of that female soldier, if you find ...


32

Kind of yes? The big problem with Bury Your Gays in literature is that the gay characters' death mostly exists to motivate or evoke emotions other characters around them and they aren't characters in their own right. Your description of the plot makes it seem like the character's death was merely used to get an emotional reaction out of the audience, not ...


25

This seems like you have a character who is going to die at the end of your story who happens to be gay. Objectively I see zero issues with that - the only reason there is a question is because of the history of stories killing off LGBT+ characters. I guess I would say to just be careful to make this guy a real character with his own purpose, and don't kill ...


21

Short answer: You can do and write whatever you want. You can make almost anything work. Long answer: Death is an idea, the belief that there is more to a human than flesh and blood, and that when we die, something mythical happens. Casting this idea into a character allows others to interact with this character, and also allows the writer to make comments ...


20

Don't detach yourself emotionally from the character. Rather, experience the character's death as a major part of their arc. This is not a real person who is gone once dead; this is a fictional character, and their entire arc is what makes them who they are. Make the specifics of the death contribute towards making the character even greater, and love the ...


18

You don't detach yourself from the character. On the contrary - you let yourself feel the pain of her death, experience the loss, and you pour all of that onto the page. When a character dies, it should matter. It should be a punch in the gut for your audience. That can only be achieved if you care about the character. If you don't care, if you've detached ...


16

You are too focused on the here and now. The actions happening to your characters are important, sure. But what about their thoughts and feelings? Are they scared to lose what they had before the conflicts? Are they angry that they are the only ones to fight while they see others just give up? Are they hopeful for a better future, or do they hope to get ...


14

We scream "please don't" because of about half a book's worth of endearments, and making the character like somebody we would like in our own life, or at least in our life if WE were a character in this book (like the protagonist, or somebody else we identify with). There are some "automatic" endearments for most readers; particularly children. Because ...


14

A question to ask is: are your secondary characters gay just to tick an LGBTQ+ box? A test of that is how rich they are as characters in their own rights. If they are rich deep characters, who we grow to love because of who they are, not just because of what they are, they aren't just sacrificial, and the death is clearly not just gratuitously "isn't ...


13

Discworld aside, as I'm sadly not very familiar with it, I can think of at least two examples of Death personified being an important, serious character: "The Book Thief", both the original novel and the film adaptation. While Death is not the main character, he is the narrator, and his role is treated not only seriously, but sympathetically to a degree - ...


12

I've heard it said that the ideal ending to a book is completely expected and completely surprising to the reader at the same time. The reader needs to be placed in a mode where the end will seem exactly right, and emotionally truthful, and believable, and yet also it needs to seem fresh and astonishing. Obviously it's a tough balancing act, which is why ...


11

According to dream logic, which often underlies work that is psychologically satisfying, death symbolizes rebirth. For example, in the movie American Beauty, the death of the main character comes at a moment of spiritual and moral renewal. We mourn the character, but we paradoxically and simultaneously experience the character's death as a liberation. ...


10

How to kill a character you are attached to? ANSWER: Write a few alternate versions of the scene--in one the character dies, in others the character does not die (coma, loss of limbs, etc). Then get on with the story. After you've written more story, with the anaesthetic of knowing you have versions of "that scene" in which the character does not die, you'...


9

Why do you want the audience to scream "Please, don't!"? Is it because: we are supposed to identify with the character, or because we think we need the character within the story for some reason? Spoiler in The Lord of the Rings: For case 1, if we are supposed to identify with the victim at hand, and want the victim to live because death is too bad of a ...


9

I think this may be a matter of opinion; different psychologies will answer differently. Personally, my characters feel real to me; but I remind myself of a few things. I go back over what I wrote for her, reminding myself that I invented her, all she really consists of is these words on paper. It is like sketching a person, then burning the sketch. In ...


9

If you like the sentimentalism, do that. It’s not good to let others tell you that you are too much this or too much that in your writing, but what is important is whether what you’ve written is up to your standards and special to you.


8

The personification of various forces of nature and existence is quite ancient—it arguably is the first way that people conceptualized of many of what we more often now think of as abstract concepts—and is often treated quite seriously. Many polytheistic religions have an actual god of death, such as Hades for the Greeks. Death is also personified in the ...


8

I can think of several instances of bad foreshadowing, where I have moved from thinking the character might die, to knowing beyond any doubt that he will die. Let's examine them first: In Farscape (TV series), a "good" character crossed a moral event horizon - he did something so completely terrible, that the only redemption possible for him was a heroic ...


7

Foreshadowing that looks like foreshadowing is poorly-executed foreshadowing. You can leave clues in the narrative which in retrospect point to the events that follow, but these should be things the characters naturally see. You prepare the reader for the discovery of Susan's untimely demise by saying that Brian was worried because he had not heard from ...


7

Death as a person has always reminded me of this Mesopotamian tale: A merchant in Baghdad sends his servant to the marketplace for provisions. Soon afterwards, the servant comes home white and trembling and tells him that in the marketplace, he was jostled by a woman, whom he recognized as Death, and she made a threatening gesture. Borrowing the ...


7

I think this quite an interesting question. If we treat people of all sexual preferences equally, then the sexual preference of the characters is irrelevant. But, we live in a world where there has historically been much prejudice and bigotry towards people who are not heterosexual. As such, we need to be aware of the societal context in which we write. For ...


6

Take a look at the Incarnations of Immortality series by Piers Anthony. In the series, Death and other supernatural forces (Time, Fate, War, Nature, Evil, Good, and Night) are portrayed as actual characters throughout the books. Each book's protagonist has to assume the "office" of one of these forces, and the books deal specifically with their struggles ...


6

I think in order to incorporate Death as a character into your story, you will need to decide how your story views death as a concept in itself. Terry Pratchett created Death to act in a humorous way, and it feels as if dying is merely an inconvenience for most of the characters. However, if you take for example Hades, Keeper of the Underworld in Greek ...


6

You don't make him mention death eg "someday, you'll be the death of me..." Eg Star Wars You don't make him show pictures of home to his buddies. This is a DEAD giveaway (excuse my pun), especially in military fic. You might want to weave in a death theme (Eg gladiator) which doesn't really foreshadow anything until it's too late-- the end of the story. ...


6

I don't recommend it, but you can take a Hollywood/American morality play approach. Put something in her current or past behavior that is ever-so-slightly corrupted, or slightly off center, or even the tiniest bit not pure-as-the-gently-driven-snow-virginal. When she dies, rather than address the actual situation or the injustice or the randomness-of-fate ...


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