Debating over whether or not to kill my MC.

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  1. #1

    Debating over whether or not to kill my MC.

    For quite some time now, I have written a series of short stories called 'Darksword.' The series follows the title character, Darius Darksword, as he makes his way through life in a medieval-type setting that is in a parallel universe. In the series, he has had powers bestowed upon him, found love with his soul mate Arielle, made new friends and allies, and has fought his way through much adversity. He even has a young son now.

    I feel as if I'm at a crossroads with Darksword. I've been unable to come up with any new story ideas in the last year, and have been focusing on other projects. Aside from exploring his son more in-depth, I'm not sure what else I can come up with for this series. Has the time come for Darius to pay the ultimate price? He died once before in a previous story, but was resurrected by one of his Gods to further a plot at the time.

    I would have never considered this in the past, but I'm starting to think that maybe Darksword has run it's course. Perhaps it is time for him to die, even though it will leave an impact on me, his creator, not to mention the supporting cast in the Darksword universe.

    Has anyone else out there had this problem? What did you do?

    -JJB
    ​"Strong convictions precede great actions....."

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  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by JJBuchholz View Post
    For quite some time now, I have written a series of short stories called 'Darksword.' The series follows the title character, Darius Darksword, as he makes his way through life in a medieval-type setting that is in a parallel universe. In the series, he has had powers bestowed upon him, found love with his soul mate Arielle, made new friends and allies, and has fought his way through much adversity. He even has a young son now.

    I feel as if I'm at a crossroads with Darksword. I've been unable to come up with any new story ideas in the last year, and have been focusing on other projects. Aside from exploring his son more in-depth, I'm not sure what else I can come up with for this series. Has the time come for Darius to pay the ultimate price? He died once before in a previous story, but was resurrected by one of his Gods to further a plot at the time.

    I would have never considered this in the past, but I'm starting to think that maybe Darksword has run it's course. Perhaps it is time for him to die, even though it will leave an impact on me, his creator, not to mention the supporting cast in the Darksword universe.

    Has anyone else out there had this problem? What did you do?

    -JJB
    I'm more fond of innovation so I would say think of something more interesting than killing him off.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by JJBuchholz View Post
    He died once before in a previous story, but was resurrected by one of his Gods to further a plot at the time.
    There's always room for an exception but I tend to have problems with a character being resurrected only to then die permanently UNLESS that was something that was already foreshadowed - i.e if at the time he was resurrected previously it was made clear it would only be temporary. Otherwise I think you're recycling.

    Here's the problem: Your character died before and came back, so why should the reader now be asked to feel anything toward this death? How are you going to write it without it feeling more or less the same as before, other than maybe the superficial details? What is going to make this feel like the real deal as opposed to another fake out?
    "All good books have one thing in common - they are truer than if they had really happened."

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  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by luckyscars View Post
    Here's the problem: Your character died before and came back, so why should the reader now be asked to feel anything toward this death? How are you going to write it without it feeling more or less the same as before, other than maybe the superficial details? What is going to make this feel like the real deal as opposed to another fake out?
    I hadn't considered that. Very good point indeed. Gives me something to ponder now.

    -JJB
    ​"Strong convictions precede great actions....."

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  5. #5
    Member Megan Pearson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JJBuchholz View Post
    For quite some time now, I have written a series of short stories called 'Darksword.' The series follows the title character, Darius Darksword, as he makes his way through life in a medieval-type setting that is in a parallel universe. In the series, he has had powers bestowed upon him, found love with his soul mate Arielle, made new friends and allies, and has fought his way through much adversity. He even has a young son now.

    I feel as if I'm at a crossroads with Darksword. I've been unable to come up with any new story ideas in the last year, and have been focusing on other projects. Aside from exploring his son more in-depth, I'm not sure what else I can come up with for this series. Has the time come for Darius to pay the ultimate price? He died once before in a previous story, but was resurrected by one of his Gods to further a plot at the time.

    I would have never considered this in the past, but I'm starting to think that maybe Darksword has run it's course. Perhaps it is time for him to die, even though it will leave an impact on me, his creator, not to mention the supporting cast in the Darksword universe.

    Has anyone else out there had this problem? What did you do?

    -JJB
    I killed off a main character. I have a sci-fi saga I've been writing for a very long time and wrestled with how the story should end for probably close to two years. The most natural way to wrap it all up was for him to die...it just made the most sense.

    Now, that said, who in fiction stays dead? He doesn't so much come back to life as his life is continued as something other than what he was--but the connections he had and the influence he wielded over the story world came to a crashing halt. He still furthers the storyline of my story world, but in a different way. I have no plans of his being the main character in any subsequent spin-offs, although his ongoing influence will be felt sporadically, and then generally via second-hand reference.

    I think we outgrow a story or a character in one of two ways. First, when the story calls for it. This can create an emotionally compelling, believable ending if it's in line with the plot and characterization preceding it (which mine is). Or, second, we outgrow the character or story line. If that's the case, we should move on.

  6. #6
    Member Sir-KP's Avatar
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    If the moment he gets killed again affects the storyline in a major way, whether it's the end or a huge change in the on-going event, I'd say kill him.

    If not, then don't re-kill what's already de-killed.

  7. #7
    I'm more fond of the trope where a character leaves for parts unknown at the end of the story. Seems like a more fitting and open-ended way to see off a character whose story (or at least the author's story) is over.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Quirkiness101 View Post
    I'm more fond of the trope where a character leaves for parts unknown at the end of the story. Seems like a more fitting and open-ended way to see off a character whose story (or at least the author's story) is over.
    An interesting idea for sure. The problem with the MC is that if he were to leave, the series would end.

    I have decided that for the meantime, I will set Darksword aside until I have a viable story idea. I have been pondering expanding upon the character of my MC's son, with the MC himself moving into the background a little bit to open up new possibilities. I have also thought of writing a novella that would be one big finale for the whole series.

    It's tough when you've been writing a whole series, and start to feel as if you've done all you can with it.

    -JJB
    ​"Strong convictions precede great actions....."

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