alixtii: D.E.B.S. "I have the girl." "Oh no." "Oh no!" Janet: "What?!" (D.E.B.S.)
[personal profile] alixtii
Somehow it took me two years to produce a fic that's barely longer than 6,000 words total, but as you might have noticed that I have completed Not Quite Queen of the Damned, a VMars/BtVS crossover. (I told you I would do it, Ari!) Now I've put it up at Twisting the Hellmouth and at the Pit of Voles, and a lot of the commenters have commented on (not criticizing, but mentioning as noteworthy) just how high the bodycount is come the end of the story. I mentioned this fact to my brother as an interesting note about how the reviewers were responding to my story, and he asked my why I killed off so many characters.

And I couldn't quite answer him. It wasn't just because I could; obviously I'm capable of killing off characters every time I put pen to paper or finger to keyboard and most of the time I don't do it. And it wasn't that this story demanded it, at least not in the sense that, say, most of the character deaths (maybe not Anya's, but certainly Tara, Spike, Book, Wash, Penny) in Whedon's oeuvre were demanded by the stories he was trying to tell (for better or worse); I could have any given character walk away at the end of the story and still have the overall structure and moral of the story more or less intact. And while part of it was that I was that I was convinced that since the world of Sunnydale and the world of Neptune were each dangerous in their own way the convergence of these dangers would be exceptionally lethal, that wasn't the whole story either.

There was still some sense that, for this particular story, killing off the characters I did represented the answer to some question I asked myself while writing, and once I recognized it as the answer to that question, then the story I was writing had to end in that way. But I couldn't articulate what that question was.

This morning, however, I read this insightful meta post by [ profile] sarken which identifies "the magic question," which I recognized as the question I was trying to explain to my brother, the question whose answer for "Not Quite Queen of the Damned" was so much character death:
[L]ast night, as I lay in bed wondering, "What happens next?", I realized I was asking the wrong question. I was on the right path, but I wasn't specific enough. Immediately after I realized that, I found my magic question.

What can only happen right here, in this moment, in this story?

As soon as I thought to ask that question, I knew what came next in my fic. I'd been so busy thinking about possibilities that I'd forgotten about opportunities, and I had a great one in front of me. I just needed to see it. I needed to think about what I'd written in order to decide what I was going to write.
Or (and I don't claim this is the same exact question, but it certainly seems similar) out of all the possibilities I'm interested in exploring, which of them would require me to write this exact story up to this point as set-up? It wasn't that the beginning of "Not Quite Queen of the Damned" required character death, it was that those particular character deaths required the beginning of "Not Quite Queen of the Damned," and since I just happened to have it written it seemed silly not to avail myself of the opportunity.

Now of course this is not the only question one can ask oneself when writing, or even necessarily the primarily one I use in writing (although the more I think about my plotting process, the more I see this question at work); I'm also very likely to be concerned with what has to happen in order to be faithful to the story or the characters, and of course there's the all-important id vortex-y question of what I want to happen. But it's a very good question to ask when writing, and I'm grateful to [ profile] sarken for articulating it so well.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-01-06 11:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
As one of those commentators in question, the deaths felt off to me. Not quite for shock value, and some felt plucked out of thin air, almost only for authorical edict and not really affecting the plot at all.

To me at least, they didn't feel integral to the story.


Date: 2013-03-31 09:49 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
a prism has the potential to srpead the white light in to violet, blue, green, yellow,orange, red colours. how ever the reverse process to send the rain bow colours through the prism in order to produce white light is only theoretically possible.similarly we can assume certain cause and effect as it could happen in a particular way, but unless you experience it and realize it for sure, it will remain as an assumption.Nibbana is one such assumption. Further it is reachable by going against all most all traditional ways of doing things, to make a clear distinction between good and bad!

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