writing character death in fanficiton - a summarized quick guide
i have been meaning to point out for a while that writing character death is very different when you do it with your own characters (original fiction) from when you do it with other people’s fictional characters. yes, people should get attached to your characters when they read your original fiction and feel something when you kill them, but it’s not the same; those fictional characters are shared by communities that love them, cherish them, talk about them on a daily basis. there is a higher degree of attachment that you need to be aware of when killing, let’s say, your favorite harry potter character, because that might be someone else’s favorite too.
not saying ‘don’t kill them’, but here is a very brief list of three things that you should keep in account:
no death is in vain: even if the character that dies does not have a great impact on the story, make sure their death doesn’t seem ‘random’, or ‘uncalled for.’ death is big for humans. we find denial in every death, especially the death of something (someone) we love. minor deaths don’t have much effect in original fiction – here, they are a world. you may not care for the person that you just killed, but make it look like you do care for the character. the difference is huge.
do your research: you may say ‘but you also do research in original fiction.’ that is true. however, we are in a community where the majority of people’s reading and connection with reading comes through fanfiction. this ties in with the first point: if you kill someone with cancer (i have a lot of opinions on this matter as well, but this is for another post), and are not respectful in the way you do it, you are making a lot of mistakes and wronging a lot of people here: yourself, first, by not extending to the limit of your abilities, wronging those who are actually going through the illness, wronging your character; don’t forget, no death is in vain, and none to be taken lightly.
take advantage of the first two points: this isn’t redundant, and i’ll tell you why now. once you grasp that no death is in vain, and once you’ve done all the research you had to (even for supernatural deaths there is something you can research! mix it up) your character deaths will be what we all want them to be – effective. they will draw an emotional response that is anger/pain/disbelief/etc. at how well you did it, not at why or it was unnecessary. it’s what most of us who reach all the way to character death strive for: to see our readers twist and turn, because we killed someone they loved, and they can’t even be upset about it. because it was a masterpiece.
i hope this was helpful and helps you all out in your fictional murder endeavors.
sos pls imagine dan and matt’s/kevin and thea’s/aaron and katelyn’s kids covering neil’s scars with brightly colored bandaids and lbr neil’s chill he keeps em on the whole day, every time. like neil with hot pink bandaids that say “BARBIE GIRL” on his cheeks, neil with dinosaur bandaids layered on his arms. and the fox kids are so proud!!! the desire to take care of “uncle neil” gets passed onto the kids from their parents and they’re so protective of him!! they save the coolest bandaids for when he and andrew come to visit bc he always has new/old injuries that need to be fixed up. and it means so much to neil that the kids aren’t scared of him at all but just wanna take care of him???? help me bye