I feel a little Whedonesque

ImageThose of you who are Joss Whedon fans probably understand my blog title, but those of you who don’t here is a little graphic to help you understand:

I just killed off my first major character. I feel a little gross and kind of omnipotent.

Hoo boy, let’s see how this goes!

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21 thoughts on “I feel a little Whedonesque

      • Dark cookies . . . evil cookies, nibbling at the soul, rotting it from within.

        . . . seriously, Joss has often said it makes the story “real” for the reader/viewer. I call bull on that. All it does is destroy the memory of the character. It makes it hard to watch the movie/TV-show, or re-read the book, when you know someone you identify with, like, and have come to care for, will tragically have their life cut short.

        You know who they will blame? Not the villain, not the literary tool . . . the writer. At least I will, as I did with Joss.

      • I sense a personal story here – was it Wash, Tara or Wesley’s death that upset you the most? I don’t think the killing of my character makes my storyline more real .. I think it was necessary in that I hinted at it all throughout, and now if I don’t.. it will feel disingenuous.

      • Wash is the most recent, but there were others.

        For me movies and books are escapes from reality. If I wanted to read or see tragedies, I could watch the news.

        I don’t buy the argument about the plot requiring it, but each writer must travel their own path. I won’t be traveling it with them, but luckily for writers, I am in the minority.

  1. I’m about to do the same, actually, and in true Wedon fashion the character who is going to die is the one who least deserves it. But it’s kind of necessary for my plot right now.

  2. I’m sort of torn on this: on one hand, I’m always worried I’ll veer into this because I generally like all of my characters. On the other hand, the kind of stories I write sort of necessitate Whedonism. I’ve felt bad about a couple of deaths, but I figure that’s a good thing, in a sense. If it gets the desired emotional effect out of me, the writer, hopefully it gets the same result from the readers. You just have to be careful not to kill off characters wantonly, I think.

      • So, the desired emotional effect is to get readers bummed? What am I missing here?

        Not looking for an argument, but wanting to understand why that is the desired effect. Are readers out there (readers that are not me) interested in feeling bummed when they read books?

        I ask because no one in my circle of acquaintances reads books to feel bummed. In fact, a few will not read a book, or watch a movie, if they know it does not turn out well.

        Again, just wondering.

  3. Interesting ideas in both comments, and I have to say, I don’t want my reader to be bummed, but I write mysteries, so I want them to be surprised. This death with surprise everyone.

  4. Scalzi did something interesting in “Old Man’s War”. He too killed off characters we (I) had come to care for (meaning I knew of their hopes and dreams).

    But, they died “off screen”. We, the readers, were not present at their deaths. The main character informs us of their demise even as he is now involved with other concerns. So, I “feel bummed”, but it’s easier to process.

    Hard to explain, but it’s the difference between “seeing” someone die, and hearing they died some time past, some place far away.

    That would not work in many situations or plots, and I wondered if he set out to have it happen thus. Actually, he must have, as he repeats it in subsequent books; someone who is not one of the main characters, but has some importance to the main character, and by extension, the reader, dies off-camera.

    Much different to *Spoiler* watching Wash being skewered, and more so, watching Zoe watching Wash getting skewered.

    I don’t know. I can’t enjoy anything where the investment of my emotions is essentially wasted, and more important, where the “payoff” is to feel bad about what happens to a character I care for, but perhaps that’s a personality trait not present in others.

    Anyway, sorry; did not mean to have this be so involved.

    • Good gosh please do not apologize, this is a great discussion! A lot of your argument matches why I (as a viewer) do not watch horror movies – because I don’t like feeling terrified… I don’t get why people DO like to be terrified. Now I don’t mean scared, like Alfred Hitchcock, I mean terrified and physically ill from Saw I-V (none of which I’ve seen more than a trailer for). The idea of on-camera and off is an interesting one. This death happens kind of off-camera I guess, but now you’ve got me thinking about all the times that happens off-camera, and how I feel about that.

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