The Whedon Effect

So what happens when a Joss Whedon fan has a boring day at work?

Characters die. That’s what. Is that what you want? IS IT?!? Well, it wasn’t what I thought I wanted either. But I’d been toying with whether to kill off a character for some time and it never felt right – every scenario I had thought of felt contrived. Yesterday, however, scenes came to me almost fully formed, right in the middle of the afternoon. I could almost see them unfolding even as I tried to ignore them.

But it would take so much work…and it would break my heart to do it.

But look how well it would work and how much you could do with it.

There have been scenes before that I knew would need special attention, specific time set aside where I wasn’t thinking about anything else because I needed to get into a different headspace. This will be another one. It will suck. But I also think it will be worth it.

I’ve seen other writers comment on what it’s like to kill off characters. Does George R.R. Martin get upset every time one of his dies? Does Whedon? Or do they sit around gleefully rubbing their palms together like villains saying, “wait ‘til they get a load of this!”

Personally, I’m a combination of both. I’m curious to see the reactions. I even imagine my characters hanging out somewhere in the universe, blissfully unaware of their new fates. Even better is imagining characters in horrible books (Fifty Shades of Patooie) begging for release – “Please kill me – kill me now!” All of this makes it easier to do what I’m about to do.

So this is my challenge for the near future. Make it plausible. Make it believable. Make it heartbreaking.

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One response to “The Whedon Effect

  1. If a character death will add depth to the story, go for it. Will you mourn the loss of the character? If you do, that means the character was well-developed and one that meant something. I know I have one in particular that will be killed off in my pet project, and trust me, it is painful to think of killing him off. But it will add to the depth of the story for the other characters around him, and one of them has to die for the story to move forward the way I want. It won’t be the first time I’ve killed off a character, either. 🙂

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