Home  | Login  | Register  | Help  | Play 

"Real Men kill all their characters before the epilogue!"

Logged in as: Guest
  Printable Version
All Forums >> [Gaming Community] >> [Legends and Lore] >> Writers of Lore >> [The Workshop] >> Craft Discussion >> "Real Men kill all their characters before the epilogue!"
Page 1 of 212>
Forum Login
Message << Older Topic   Newer Topic >>
6/28/2009 2:32:46   
Argeus the Paladin

You know who I am talking about. Yoshiyuki "Kill 'Em All" Tomino, famous for the mildly depressing tear-jerking KILL THEM ALL ending of such works as Space Runaway Ideon and Mobile Suit Universal Century. Public opinion on his choice has been divided, some thinking that it takes great men and great courage to kill ALL their characters, their meta-children, so that the audience may believe that nothing is perfect, and that life doesn't always work ideally. Others think that he was just plain mad (which is reasonable - Tomino-san had been struggling with depression and mental conditions since his early-30s and had just recovered about 10-12 years ago.)

Now, the question for discussion is, do you think it is a good thing to kill of all, or a majority of your characters before the story conclude? Or is it better to have everyone, or most, survive and Live Happily Ever After? Knowing that Tomino was criticized for the former and Stephenie Meyer for the latter, sometimes it can get tough to choose between the two.

P.S. And don't tell me that casualties cannot be added into romance. School Days tells me otherwise (Although that was more of an exception than the rules)
DF  Post #: 1
6/28/2009 19:10:50   

Correction: Real women kill all their characters. I'm the prime example. =P

Actually, I don't know how many people this Tomino killed since I'm not familiar with his works. But I know that I kill just as much on average as George R. R. Martin, who is the epitome of "anyone can die" in western fantasy.

I don't literally kill everybody (in novels), for the very reason that:
a) If I kill off all my good characters too soon, the reader might stop reading.
b) If I kill off all my good characters too soon, I might lose interest in the story.
c) If everyone is dead, then who is left to narrate the epilogue?

As you can clearly see, none of the reasons include "I'm not cruel enough."

Hmm, since I'm no longer posting much if any of my longer works on the forums, I guess revealing a few endings won't hurt.

The Guardian of the Gates of Time:

Everyone dies except the two Gods in the prologue. The entire earth is destroyed. Oh, and the Guardian (Varina) goes over to the Uncreator's side. The most downer ending there ever could be.

Mirrors of Perfection:

Both of the major male characters die. And most of the named characters period. The protagonist lives, but she is the reason peace is no longer possible on that world.

Eh, I should stop talking about my depressing endings. Just know that, if it's written by me:
- If it's a short story, almost everyone will die. And even if they don't, it'll be sad anyways.
- If it's a standalone novel, most people will die. But it's more "anyone can die" rather than "everyone does die"
- If it's a series, the main characters (not any characters that are named--just those who are in the top 3-5) will live for most of the series to keep the story going. Hopefully. But there's no guarantee that they'll live in the end.

So... Well, I don't think it's necessarily about how many people you kill. What's more important is to ask yourself:
- If this character is killed, can be plot continue? And if it can, does this character dying help the plot and theme?
- If this character is killed, will it cause the majority of your readers to stop reading?
- Why are you killing him/her anyways?

If you can find satisfactory answers for those questions, get out the butcher knife. If you can't, leave them be. Killing for the sake of being sadistic is bad. Keeping characters alive cause you're too kind-hearted and wishing to please might be even worse. My own general philosophy (my opinion; I know there are people who prefer comfortable stories) is that the author must give the reader sufficient reason to make them feel that the characters /could/ die. But the author doesn't have to necessarily /really/ kill the characters.
AQ  Post #: 2
6/29/2009 12:44:12   

But you never finished GotGoT, so we were spared the massive downer ending. Though I don't see a problem with everyone dying unless it's down suddenly and horribly wrong. "And they all lived happily ever after...until Spiral Power was abused and the universe dies" or whatever. There has to be a driving meaning behind something like this. I don't think Tomino was insane for doing this. Truth in fiction right there, at some unspecified point in the future, we're all going to be extinguished in the long run. Nothing, not the power of love or rock can save us then.

Rambling aside, killing just ONE can lead to the same depressing effect, also bringing some sense of conclusion at the end. Methinks it takes more guts to kill off central characters specifically. You should know who I mean.
AQ DF  Post #: 3
6/29/2009 14:28:30   

Who? No, seriously, it might be because I'm still aching from yesterday's soccer and football, but I really dunno what you're talking about.

And yeah, it takes a lot of guts to kill central characters. However, I think that the reason central characters shouldn't be killed too soon is because it doesn't add anything good to the story. If all your good characters are dead, then people might stop reading.

However, despite my massively depressing fiction (sometimes), I don't consider myself a pessimist at heart. I look for the good in people, and I can mainly regard the "inevitable destruction" as a poetic prophecy rather than something of unchangeable truth.

Meh, GoT wasn't really an idea that was extremely close to me. I'll write it someday, but other things take precedence.

And I really shouldn't be on here until July 3rd. If Jer wins our contest because of this thread, Argeus, I'm going to chase down your soul.
AQ  Post #: 4
6/29/2009 16:35:29   

Depends on the story. I much prefer the deaths of a lot major characters over almost all of them surviving. I don't like it if the whole point of their deaths is to express negative ideals like nihilism, though.


DF  Post #: 5
6/29/2009 18:46:19   

How can there be a tragedy if there's no one left to live it?


I say there is almost no reason to kill off most/all your characters.
It's the cheap way out of establishing a solid conclusion.
DF MQ  Post #: 6
6/29/2009 22:23:47   

I say it's your story. Kill them if you wan't (please don't). Personally, I would let a couple of them die for emotional effect, but to end a story with "they all died" is madness. Not even sad, just madness.

One author had a story his town's newspaper. Every week he would add a new chapter. Every person in the town was into it and hoped that the main character would survive her troubles. The thing was, many of the readers had bullied the author when he was young, so to get back at them, he killed the main character, lol.

The pen is mightier than the sword.

< Message edited by Arzamol -- 6/29/2009 22:24:31 >


The opinions and ideas in the above post may be subject to heavy change.
This is because I tend to have no idea what I'm talking about. But does anyone?
And at least I'm talking. That's a good sign isn't it? It means i'm alive, right? Right
DF  Post #: 7
6/30/2009 0:29:21   

*cackles madly* I figure if Flight's going to be wasting time online, I might as well do her a favor and post here. ^_^ If Jer wins is still a very big if, but I suppose possible. ^_^ Keep up the good work, Argeus.

Okay, teasing Flight aside, I don't kill all my characters. That's silly. Like Firefly said, who's left to narrate the epilouge? But I do believe in killing very carefully. I have killed off semi-main characters at least twice that I can think of. The number one reason is what it does to my main. (Haha, poor main.) If it will help my char go insane, wrack him/her with guilt, and ultimately drive him/her towards the Final Battle, then it's good. ^_^

So just repeating what others have said. If it helps the story, adds to the depths or whatever, it's okay. If you're just killing people for the sake of killing people, like Arzamol's (nice name, btw) author, well then, what's the point?
AQ DF  Post #: 8
6/30/2009 3:12:36   
The Extinguisher

Personally, I'm a big fan of the villains winning, so...
Post #: 9
7/2/2009 11:49:01   

Villains winning =/= everybody died. Because the villain is a person and she/he lived, right?

I don't think it's madness to kill off all your characters. But it is madness to kill off all your characters because that's the only way you know how to end the story.
AQ  Post #: 10
7/4/2009 0:00:25   
Prator the Legendary

I think it depends on what kind of story you're trying to make.

If you want to make a happy ending, killing off important characters that the reader is attached to is generally a bad idea. There are exceptions; I once played a game called "Revenant" where the main character was a risen corpse who was brought back from the grave to avenge his own death. Upon killing the culprit, he could pass on to his final rest. The story ended with his "death," but since that was what he was going for the whole time, you didn't feel bad about it.

If you want to make a depressing ending, killing off one or more vital characters is an excellent idea. Killing a few people makes the happy ending bittersweet; killing a lot of them can be downright tragic.

Now, killing off EVERY character... Every main, supporting, and background character... The only circumstance in which I think that would be a good idea is if you're trying to simulate an apocalyptic event, or something equally sad/horrifying. I can just imagine a gritty, post-modern story in which the cast, trying to prevent a nuclear war, gradually dies off in assorted accidents and fights, until finally the last group of them is wiped out in a massive explosion. The epilogue will reveal, through the medium of a news report, that they failed, and that even now the missiles are flying and billions of people are going to die.

If you WANT to make the reader cry or be sick, by all means, kill everyone!
AQ  Post #: 11
7/4/2009 8:48:20   

So long as the main character dies. I didn't go through 300 pages of crap to see the main character die.
AQ  Post #: 12
7/4/2009 21:32:52   
The Extinguisher


Villains winning =/= everybody died. Because the villain is a person and she/he lived, right?

I don't think it's madness to kill off all your characters. But it is madness to kill off all your characters because that's the only way you know how to end the story.

Wait wait. Your villains are people. If I'm going to make the bad guys win, I make them monsters. Not as in monsters but people too horrible to be called horrible.
Post #: 13
7/5/2009 0:21:44   

Well, they're still a /characters/, albeit really mean ones.

As a side note, I'm not a fan of Complete Monster characters (this resulted in a slight disagreement with Rational regarding the merits of the the character Johan Liebert from Monster). I think it's just very hard to make a character deep, realistic, and complex, if they have absolutely no redeeming qualities.
AQ  Post #: 14
7/5/2009 1:20:33   
The Extinguisher

I disagree.
It takes a lot of work to make a character deep, realistic, and complex if they have absolutely no redeeming qualities, but it's possible.

Some people don't need to be redeemed to be a good character.
Post #: 15
7/5/2009 1:29:57   

I didn't say it was impossible. And perhaps it less that a Complete Monster can't be a good character than the fact that it's very hard for a Complete Monster to be a good character /in my eyes/. Remember, this is coming from the person who dislikes the Determined Protagonist role that everyone else seems to love.
AQ  Post #: 16
7/7/2009 8:02:38   


As a side note, I'm not a fan of Complete Monster characters (this resulted in a slight disagreement with Rational regarding the merits of the the character Johan Liebert from Monster). I think it's just very hard to make a character deep, realistic, and complex, if they have absolutely no redeeming qualities.

For a realistic, deep and complex monster, I advise reading Wild Seed. Doro is truly a monster, but he is also one of the best villians I have ever seen.

A note on the death topic. In writing, death is a tool. When somebody dies, the author wants to show the character's sacrifice or how much a character believed in the cause. Or the author might want to show how much another character loved the dieing character or how cruel the one responsible is. Death in a story is used to show something. You don't hold a ballot and randomly select characters for death. If you do, name the novel Bloodbath and get rid of all the chapters where someone doesn't die.

Take for example the deaths of Lupin, Tonks, Fred Weasley and Colin Creevey in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Rowling has been criticized for killing off many characters, but when you stop to look at what she has achieved with these deaths, it's entirely understandable. The four characters I've mentioned are all endearing in some way - Lupin, with his calmness and kindness, Tonks with her clumsiness and her humour, Fred with his brilliance and pranks, and Colin with his enthusiasm and devotion to Harry. Their deaths achieved all that Rowling had been showing in the whole series: the cruelty of the dark side and the sacrificies taken to stop them.

I hope that my point has been understood and I haven't confused everyone with that (which is not unusual).
AQ DF  Post #: 17
7/7/2009 12:08:22   

^ You forgot Dobby, he was my favourite of the ones who died in that book.

I agree with you though.
DF  Post #: 18
7/7/2009 12:55:44   

Lupin was the best. I would've threw a fit if I hadn't already guessed that he would die. And by the way, we're totally spoiling HP here.

Meh, I don't think JKR was too bad. She killed off many minor characters, true

but the fact that the three main characters all lived puts her slightly higher on the Idealism vs. Cynicism Scale.
Yeah, Xir, I've heard of Wild Seed and how apparently good it was, but I've been too preoccupied to find it and read it. Maybe I wasn't being clear enough. I didn't say monstrous characters can't be good characters; I said it's hard (not impossible) for them to be good characters /in my eyes/. Maybe I'm weird, but I'm less interested in how spitefully and coolly evil someone is than the /why/ they're evil. And if they don't have a sufficient reason, realism points start falling. Again, not saying they can't be good characters, but it's just hard for /me/ to see them that way, no matter how creepy or classy they are.

Funny, I'm nearing the end of False Memory which has a villain of exactly this type: a complete monster with depth. However, as the book progresses and he's revealed to be more and more evil, I'm only losing my interest more and more. I guess I'm one of the few individuals who /don't want/ to be told to hate the villain and love the hero. I don't want a clear morality scale. Maybe it's the way I write. I hardly ever do things like making the villain do something horrible so that the audience would cheer on the hero. The characters are who they are, not a puppet for their roles. Evil is relative, and "heroes" have the potential for it just like villains do.
AQ  Post #: 19
7/7/2009 18:33:19   

@ Arzamol, I only didn't mention Dobby because he wasn't one of those that died in the last battle.

And yes, we're totally spoiling HP, but then, anyone who hasn't read it by now probably deserves it.

About Doro in Wild Seed. His evil is justifiable (no worries, I won't spoil it), and you'll come to understand why he does what he does as you learn more about him. Every time he is in the scene, tension arises, because you know that he unstoppable and has absolutely no qualms about killing. The other main character, Anyawu, who comes into constant conflict with him, is someone the reader will come to support and be afraid for.

I suggested him to you, because realism - the why is he evil, or seems evil to other characters - is what makes him evil. He isn't conveniently evil. He's understandably evil. And yet, he's also unstoppably evil, which makes the situation so much more interesting.
AQ DF  Post #: 20
7/7/2009 19:25:22   

^Thats true, he din't.

Voldemort did, but the reason for that is obvious.


I cant believe I forgot about Mad Eye Moody
DF  Post #: 21
7/8/2009 6:02:27   
Fleur Du Mal


How can there be a tragedy if there's no one left to live it?

Well said, Jadugarr.

But as has been stated a few times already in this thread, the justification of killing how many an which characters depends on the story. Are there any absolute truths in how to tell a story?

And there will be the readers to live it. Maybe to be aggravated by it.

For example, some one might eventually write a story heavily based on the Air France plane crash. It would be totally up to the author to decide whether to include the relatives of those who perished. Then, we would, for example read a story of two young people, spending their first time together without others away from home, recovered from some serious work-stress (or maybe a wedding stress?), worked up their issues, boarded the plane happy and kissing. And vanished from the radar.

The frailty of life. Without an apocalypse.

In fact, there's nothing that would prevent the writer finishing in a collection of news about missing plane. And then about found pieces. The news will narrate the epilogue. If the author wants to leave the reader hanging, it's his choice, it may be cruel, some (or most?) of the readers probably won't like it, but that would work as a further method for impact.

*glances at the title of this thread*

Umm, seriously, I wouldn't be that worried about spoiling any books, since that title should give a pretty good warning that here's to be discussed about story endings and probably examples of generally known literature will be used.

So, I'm totally fine, HP being spoiled here (and Twilight in the other thread =P). And I hope I don't sound offensive here, but, seriously, is this the best way to formulate it:

And yes, we're totally spoiling HP, but then, anyone who hasn't read it by now probably deserves it.

Seriously, people tend to prioritize the books they read based on different decisions and background. I really don't think anyone /deserves/ to have a book spoiled for them if they have not read it within a certain timeframe.

DF  Post #: 22
7/8/2009 13:58:24   

I'm sorry for spoiling it Fabula, but in my defence, they were spoiling it in their posts above and I have only the power to spoilerize my own posts. =P

I recommend HP. The only compelling argument I've heard against it so far is that she... uses too many adverbs. That being said, I agree that saying someone deserves to be spoiled because they didn't read it yet isn't fair. I didn't read The Da Vinci Code and I don't think I'm less of a person because of that.
AQ  Post #: 23
7/25/2009 16:48:59   

Why kill the good guys when you can make them suffer an And i must scream instead?

That's what i did at least.

The lesson?
Don't piss of the universe destroying Eldritch abomination if you don't have the means to beat it.

Yeah, i tend to give my characters the most horrible fates possible.

< Message edited by xehanort -- 7/25/2009 17:01:37 >
AQ DF  Post #: 24
7/29/2009 2:55:14   

Othello, anyone?

I only kill off my characters when I'm writing a Tragedy (or a Revenge Tragedy, the happy little sub-genre where Othello belongs), not to simply prove that "I'm a big boy now". If I want to kill off a character, there has to be some credible motive behind it, some ulterior purpose that doesn't make that character's death senseless (unless anyone's up for writing Gore Horror, of which I am definitely not a fan). In short basically what Xirminator said. Kill off your characters to have some impact on the audience, or to enlighten them about a message you're trying to get across through the medium of their deaths. What does the killing achieve? What does it reveal/show? How will the other characters react? How will the audience react? I ask myself those questions before I choose to eliminate any of my characters.

Hope this helps.

AQ  Post #: 25
Page:   [1] 2   next >   >>
All Forums >> [Gaming Community] >> [Legends and Lore] >> Writers of Lore >> [The Workshop] >> Craft Discussion >> "Real Men kill all their characters before the epilogue!"
Page 1 of 212>
Jump to:


Icon Legend
New Messages No New Messages
Hot Topic w/ New Messages Hot Topic w/o New Messages
Locked w/ New Messages Locked w/o New Messages
 Post New Thread
 Reply to Message
 Post New Poll
 Submit Vote
 Delete My Own Post
 Delete My Own Thread
 Rate Posts

Forum Content Copyright © 2018 Artix Entertainment, LLC.

"AdventureQuest", "DragonFable", "MechQuest", "EpicDuel", "BattleOn.com", "AdventureQuest Worlds", "Artix Entertainment"
and all game character names are either trademarks or registered trademarks of Artix Entertainment, LLC. All rights are reserved.

Forum Software © ASPPlayground.NET Advanced Edition