Falsely Killing off Characters to Create Suspense

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I had an idea however I'm not so sure if I can really execute it in the way I wanted to anymore. I've just been a little confused on whether or not it would even have the effect I want. It may be a little too early to do this as well. I was planning on killing off a character who I'm not sure if I've established as much as I should have. The MC's adopted sibling is expected to be 'killed' in Chapter 3 with the description of what dying may feel like to try and pass it off. However, I'd have left some small details in the writing to support otherwise when the truth comes out that before he died he'd be saved by two other people just barely. The reason why I wanted to do this fake killing was so that I could implement an antagonist being closely involved with the main cast. A shapeshifting man, he believes that he kills this character and soon adopts his form so as to gain the trust of and work with the main protagonist. It was all to help the story with this idea in mind while also allowing the brother himself to actually come back at a certain point after making a recovery. I don't know if I should explain more or if this idea is good or not, but I was thinking that the brother himself could continue being established through the idea that said shapeshifter has his memories as a way to make sure he still gets some sort of characterization without actually being him.
 

Vladd67

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Wouldn’t surprise me if in a future book Ned Stark makes a come back. The last time he is seen the eunuch basically says we need to talk, then when Stark is led out for execution Martin makes the point of saying he is unrecognisable due to the beating his face has taken, and then of course when his head is on a spike it had been dipped in pitch so could be anyone. The chances of this of course are very small but it would make for a dramatic scene when he reappeared.
 

paranoid marvin

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Wouldn’t surprise me if in a future book Ned Stark makes a come back. The last time he is seen the eunuch basically says we need to talk, then when Stark is led out for execution Martin makes the point of saying he is unrecognisable due to the beating his face has taken, and then of course when his head is on a spike it had been dipped in pitch so could be anyone. The chances of this of course are very small but it would make for a dramatic scene when he reappeared.


Well in the books, at least one major character returns from the dead, so no reason why another shouldn't. But tbh I can only see him appearing in retrospect.

As for the opening post, personally I can't see any reason why a character cannot return, especially if their ending doesn't explicitly see them dying. Gandalf has been mentioned, and another is Jonathan Harker in Dracula. It has to be carefully done, but it could be effective.
 

marcmizz

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If the 'killing' scene was left open to interpretation (i.e. it wasn't obviously blatant that the character should be dead), then sure, why not? However, I would advise at hinting that the character did actually die, so that his return later on in the story turns out as a greater twist. The tricky part is keeping a good balance which falls somewhere in between.
 

DLCroix

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Here you have two elements, the false death, but also The double. Therefore, as I see it, the only way for it to be an endearing story, that moves the reader, is that effectively the double is even better than the subject it is imitating and is transformed at the same time into a kind of A Christmas Carol, in which the character being replaced sees the good in the villain and learns a lesson, so that being saved gives him a second chance to be a better person.
I see the problem in the argument. For one thing, how is it possible that there is a shapeshifter? However, we are going to do without the explanation, because we still have resources with which to build a good story, so that if you give them an adequate treatment, indeed, the reader will no longer care to know the explanation of the shapeshifter.
I would say that to we, the writers, the readers grant us some wild cards; But we can't go overboard, either. Even so, the initial situation does not give us the possibility of the wild card. Here the reader will not forgive us for any mistakes. Why does the shapeshifter kill the protagonist's brother? Nobody kills another person just because. Hundreds of murderers who are loose on the street take the subway every day, but that is not why they are pushing old women onto the tracks. They are even nice, polite, give generous tips, people have no idea that they are criminals. In fact, and this happens in real life, the only type of criminal that the police are truly afraid of, because they know that they will never be able to catch him, is the spontaneous criminal. But this does not happen in your story. Therefore, the crime motive must respond to a logic.
For the rest, the items according to their true importance. The victim is almost always a hindrance and by eliminating it he allows access to the object that the villain wants to get. But in your story the villain takes the place of the victim, and that rules out the probable strategic, business, political or military importance of him.
Here we are talking about position.
In other words, what is really important about taking the place of the protagonist's brother? For example, if I were the shapeshifter myself, why am I dying to be that boy's brother?
Or the sister ... Woman.

That is the problem that I see with your argument. It is a matter of seeing reality. For example, cross the street and go to the bakery on the corner. Don't worry, you don't need an umbrella, it's stopped raining. But I can bet you won't find brother cakes. "What is that?," the manager will tell you. Most extravagant thing she has never heard of her.
But you will find wedding cakes.
The way I see it, it is the only thing that justifies the fact that the villain is even willing to die in the event that his plans fail. He wants to take the place of the victim because he is not the brother of the protagonist. He is her husband. Which, incidentally, in order not to be too modern, advises that the protagonist be a girl. But following the example of the wedding cake, one of the two must be of the opposite sex.

Furthermore, the definition of the MC is wrong. Because whom is going to have the whole movie rain, the one who from the beginning the family employees are going to look at him between eyebrows, as if they find that something is wrong (the tradition of nosy owls of domestics is biblical), is the villain. That is the real MC of your story.
Anyway, those are my humble advice.
 

Amy-rose

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I'm not a fan of the 'returning from the dead' trope because it's done so often and it does take the suspense out of everything. I watched a TV show recently where they killed off one of the viewers favourite characters, he was also a main character and I just knew they wouldn't be so dumb as to kill off the character most people watched the show for. Suspense lost. I knew they'd find some way to bring him back and they did.
I don't mind the 'thought dead but apparently not' as long as it's work in well.

Impact characters can be useful as well.

You can get away with most things in a story if it's set up correctly.
 

paranoid marvin

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The hero seemed to die at the end of every episode in the Saturday morning matinees. Until he miraculously survived at the beginning of the following episode! You knew it would happen, and wondering how he escaped was all part of the fun.
 

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