Thu 01 August 2013

Science Fiction eBooks Characters: Who Lives and Who Dies?

Posted by. James Jackson This article was posted in Science Fiction eBook Characters and tagged with Indie Authors, Characters
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Considering the impact of Science Fiction eBook Character deaths.

terran chronicles universe blogThe death of a main character in science fiction ebooks can have a profound impact, not only on the story, but on the readers and viewers as well. The writer needs to seriously look at a number of elements, for each personality involved.

The first is; what positive effects will this have on the storyline? The death of one or more personalities must enhance the story. If not, there is little point in destroying all the hard work put into breathing life into them in the first place. So the question is really, will eliminating anyone drive the story forward?

Which brings us to the second point; what emotions are being sought? If a well loved or respected character dies, then expect sadness and tears. These emotions slow down the reader, distracting them from the next few words. This is not the time to add critical elements to the story, it will either detract from the emotions, or be lost completely. Perhaps the character being killed off is an undesirable person, and though death should be sad, perhaps the emotions sought after are more along the lines of, 'yes! Got him (or her)'

Another factor to consider is; how many people die? Stories can have hundreds, thousands, or even millions die, but a single death can strike the real blow into the hearts and minds of the reader. Anyone recall Schindler's List? This movie is in black and white, except for one little girl who wears a red jacket. Thousands die in this fact based movie, but everyone should remember seeing that red jacket amongst the bodies in a mass grave. This adds weight and brings home all the deaths. The viewer is able to multiply this and is whammed by the full impact of the movie. Thus for the writer to succeed, they need to make emotions feel personal, almost individual, otherwise the numbers involved will have little meaning.

Some stories are driven by deaths. While I am digressing to movies, who has not heard of 'Starship Troopers'? This story revolves around the death of character after character. Another example is an old English show called 'Blake's Seven'. The series ends with a blank screen and a lot of weapons fire, presumably killing everyone off. But we never really know for sure. Very creative writing of a 'death scene'.

For me, I do a blending of all of the above. Throughout the series, vast numbers of people and alien creatures die. To give these events meaning I focus on a few key personalities, thereby creating the emotions desired at the time. I want people who read my work to feel happy, sad, angry, and elated. Ultimately, I want people to be satisfied, and enjoy what they have read.

Take it easy mates.

James Jackson