Saturday, November 1, 2008

Progress, and a Question

Today, I finally finished my read-through of Starcaster. I had hoped to begin querying today, but it will take a while to apply all these edits. Then, I'll need to perfect my query letter and write my synopsis. Therefore, I'm forced to move my query begin date to November 15th.

On the bright side, I found lots of stuff. I warned my beta readers that the draft was a bit rough, and boy it was. They found a lot of stuff, and thanks to them, I didn't find a lot of typos or punctuation problems. However, for this read-through, I was specifically looking for the sort of inconsistencies that pop up after multiple drafts. Things like, has Tory been a spy one year, or two? Was her friend's name Amelia Brock, or Amelia Brook? How much time should pass between event A and event B? That sort of thing. I marked in red everything that I need to check. After Forging a Legend, I'm very aware of the types of mistakes that I make. And for some reason, I don't often see them until I print it out.

~*~

I have a question for you. I have five books planned. When you read a series, how do you feel about major characters dying? I had planned for a major character to die in one of my sequels. Now that I've had feedback, I'm starting to second-guess myself. I know I'm getting way ahead of myself, but if I do away with this character's death, it affects the next book I'm planning, even though I didn't plan for him to die in that book. In fact, I'd have to ditch the entire plot. And nothing else I'm thinking of is nearly as good.

Without giving anything away, let me use a very familiar example. In Star Wars, we have Leia, Luke, Han and Lando. (Interesting how my story ended up like this, with three guys and a girl.) The story was told from the point of view of Luke, but what if one of the others had died . . . say, Leia? What if in Happy Days, they killed off The Fonz?

Would such a character death turn you off the series altogether? Keep in mind that the tone of my novel is somewhat light, but it's not comic, so I'm thinking that a character death would not be completely inappropriate.

8 comments:

  1. If a character on Happy Days died, it probably would have killed the show, too. However, I've followed other series that are "realistic" and I love them. Gah, look at George R.R. Martin -- hardly anyone's still alive.

    I know how you feel, though. I have a major character who dies in the second book of the Shanhasson trilogy, and another that dies in the third. I'm evil. They are MAJOR characters, and I didn't want to do it. I tried every way I could think of to avoid it, and I couldn't. The story had to be told, and it's not all fluffy bunnies and happiness, but the promise of something so much bigger is still there.

    Good luck with it!

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  2. I guess The Fonz was a bad example. The Fonz was the whole show, after all. It would have been like killing off the main protagonist (although from what I understand, the Richie character was supposed to be the main character in Happy Days).

    I really only have one character death planned so far.

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  3. Last night I was watching a show on Masterpiece - 5 part - total of 5 hours long. In the end, one of the main characters died, and 2 others were torn foreveer apart. My comment, "I spent 5 hours watching this show for this xxxxx ending?" Otherwise, it was too sad.

    If I want a sad ending, I'll read the paper!

    Oddly, for as much as I detest the sad endings, I do tend to want to write more tragically! I often must force myself not to kill off everyone!

    I can't think of a major character that I liked in either of your stories, that I'd be ok with dieing.
    The thing about major characters is that we grow fond of them, the more central they are, the more fond of them we are, the more unhappy we are if they die. We could reach a point where we no longer like the story since we don't like the direction that is going.

    The Fonz was a good example as it demonstrates the point about central characters . . . and how important they are to how readers/viewers feel about the show but the show was a slap stick comedy so people don't usually die.

    In summary, as you've guessed, I'd be none to happy if one of the main characters were killed. It's sad enough what with Abriel's love.
    Would it cause me to stop reading the series . . . I'm not sure. I guess it depends on how fond I am of the character.

    I think you have more flexibility with Forging (killing someone) as it is more serious, however, Starcaster is a bit lighter so the reader might be rather shocked for a major character to die there.

    In any case, could you warn me who it is if you do write it that way so I can brace myself when I read it!

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  4. Lisa, that's where I was concerned. Since Starcaster is light, maybe I need to save the death and dying for Abriel's story. I just need to think of Starcaster as light entertainment. After all, that's the reason I wrote it.

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  5. Where does the story of that character naturally lead? If it's death, so be it. The story being natural seems more important than whether or not a character "ought to" live or die.

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  6. The story is an open-ended series. It doesn't really lead anywhere. I haven't written myself into any corners other than a fledgling romance. It's kind of like those open ended mysteries.

    My other novel, the one Lisa mentioned, is full of tragedy. I wrote Starcaster because I wanted to write something completely different.

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  7. I say if the story calls for it, then go for what you have planned. Readers may have a strong reaction to it, but that's a good thing. Remember when Dumbledore died in HP? I was crushed! But it was great for the story and what needed to be done.

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  8. Thanks for the suggestion! I guess I'll worry about it when and if it sells. I'm not going to work on a sequel until I at least have an agent. Until then, it's off to the next project!

    (Or at least get this novel ready to query.)

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