Write a Heartbreaking Death Scene | Barbara Vance | Skillshare

Write a Heartbreaking Death Scene

Barbara Vance, Author, Illustrator

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12 Lessons (1h 52m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Setting the Groundwork for Impact

    • 3. Stages of Grief

    • 4. Relationships and the Impact of Death

    • 5. Memorable Character Reactions to Death

    • 6. Leading Up to and Following the Death

    • 7. Detail and Length

    • 8. Horrifically Descriptive Death Scenes

    • 9. Composure: How One Dies

    • 10. Sacrificial Death

    • 11. Learning About a Death After it Happens

    • 12. Common Pitfalls and Class Project


About This Class

This class is designed to help you write impactful, emotional death scenes that push the plot forward and maximize character development. Death scenes are challenging to write. It can be easy for them to become too emotional or for the death to not resonate with the reader. A great death scene, however, as a profound impact on the story and the characters in it. 

Among the things addressed are:

  1. Incorporating the stages of grief
  2. How to write strong character reactions to the death
  3. How to use character relationships to increase impact of the death
  4. How to build up to the death so it is powerful
  5. How to provide closure
  6. Writing horrifically descriptive scenes
  7. The ways a person mentally approaches death
  8. Sacrificial death
  9. Learning about a death after it happens
  10. Common pitfalls

One of the best ways to learn to write is by reading good writing. This is particularly true when it comes to writing death scenes that resonate. Guidelines are helpful, and this class certainly offers them; but what will help you the most is reading the literary examples we go through and pondering what works in them—and what doesn’t. For this reason we will spend a fair amount of time in a variety of examples—all of them some of the best death scenes in literature.

This course offers numerous materials to help you, including class notes (I recommend downloading these and following along with them), class readings, a worksheet, and a planning chart.


1. Introduction: Hi, everyone. And welcome to this course that's all about how do you write a heartbreaking death scene in your story? My name is Barbara Vans. I've had the great privilege of teaching storytelling, writing creative communications to a variety of artists across a variety of mediums. And I'm so glad you're joining me today. This class really is all about making a very impactful and powerful death scene for your characters. And we're going to be looking at this from a variety of angles and looking at a number of just great examples from literature. Writing death scenes can actually be a very challenging thing to do because it's very easy to over emote into an area that almost becomes comedic when we don't want it to. It is a very brave seen to write as a as an author because we are really putting our emotions out there and saying, this moved me, has touched my heart and in doing that where it's sort of laying ourselves bare as it were when we're writing a death scene, we're trying to render in our readers a deep emotion, but we have to make sure a number of things are in place so that that happens. Which means that one of the big things we're going to look at is actually not just the death scene itself, but everything that surrounds the death scene. Because what makes a powerful death scene isn't just the scene. It's what did you do to build up to that scene, and how did you respond to that death after it happens? So we're going to be looking at that. Our ultimate goal is to make sure that you are getting the maximum emotional resonance from your readers or your viewers for this scene in your story. Now I want to emphasize, if you've watched any of my other classes, you know, I'm really big and saying I don't like rules guidelines are much better way to look at this . There are many ways to write a death scene, And so while there are certain best practices that you will see across most literary works , these are guidelines, not rules, and so do you. Keep that in mind and to that, and we're going to be looking at a variety of scenes and ways that characters die in ways we can write about characters dying on. I've chosen some of the most impactful, most memorable examples from the great literary works so that we can really dive in and examine those among the things we will look at in this course. And I have my notes. So forgive me if I look down. You know, you've watched my courses before. I teach from notes, but we're going to be looking at, um, reacting to death. And what are the kinds of stages of grief that one might go through? So we're going to talk a little bit about psychology and just the actual legitimate types of grief that people have. We will also be looking at the relationships between characters because when a character dies, of course, that that effects all of the other characters who that character new. So we're going to be looking quite a bit at the character relationships that are impacted by death. We're going to be looking at writing reactions to that death from the other characters because, as we're going to find out, it's actually those reactions from other characters that have a great impact on the reader's reaction. And you, as a writer, are trying to get a reaction from the reader. But you also have to deal with the character reactions, so we're going to look at that as well. We're also going to look at everything that leads up, outweigh, create the build up to the death scene. And how do I move on from the death scene? Whether that's a death scene that occurs in the middle of a story or closer to the end, we will be looking at that. We will examine how detailed should we be in our death scene and specifically what other sorts of things we should describe a right about for that death scene. This includes whether it's very subtle or whether it's really horrifically descriptive. We're going to be looking at at sacrificial death scenes, very weepy death scenes, death scenes where we see the death death scenes where we don't we only hear about the death after the fact death scenes of people who are older death scenes of people who seem to have died for their time. So all kinds of examples that we will examine we will also address last words of your characters, and then we'll also look at just some best practices common pitfalls. Maybe when should you care kilocharacter off And what are the decisions you might make behind that? And then I have some fantastic things to help you in your own work for your own death scenes. This course includes class notes that I recommend you download. It also includes readings for all of the stories that I'm able to give you readings for. And it includes a wonderful worksheet that's going to help you take all of this information and start to put it into practice. What? This course is not going to focus on our action death scenes. So heat of the action. You know, if you're writing thrillers and things like that less focused on those death scenes, we will talk about death scenes that have action in them. But our focus is going to be on the death scenes where you're just really trying to make the reader feel the loss, the death scenes, where you go. Oh my gosh, no, that's what we're going to be looking at. I'm so excited about this. I know it's one a lot of people have wanted, and I was so happy to be going through it with you. I hope this sounds of interest. If it does, let's get started 2. Setting the Groundwork for Impact: Ah, a little bit of housekeeping. Most of my classes contained plot spoilers. That's just the nature of talking about them. This class contains such big plot spoilers to some great books. And so I have taken the time for this course to make sure that if there is a a book that you want to read and don't want the plot spoils for you won't have it ruined for you. So my recommendations to go to the class notes you will see at the very top of the class notes. There is a list of the stories we are talking about and by video so that you can say, Well, I really want to read a book X So I'm just going to skip videos, Foreign date because they're addressed. And that way you can watch as much of the courses you can, and you will not be, um you won't have something ruined for you that you haven't read yet. So that's for you at the top of the class notes. Just to make sure that you don't have something totally emotional spoils for you in a book , he planned to read what I'd like to do now is just set a little bit of groundwork for your death scene. And keep in mind as we go through this, there are different ways that people write some people you all love to plan. I know what you you like to lay everything out and have it all outlined and planned and then start writing others of you. You're the opposite end of the spectrum. You just need a seed of an idea if that and you're gonna go And then there are a lot of people who are in the middle, so don't feel like as we go through this, you have to plan everything out. If that's not the way that you right, you don't have to do that. Simply hearing this material and learning it and having it percolating in your head is really going to help you. The other thing that you will find is that a lot of the things that were going to be talking about as sort of writing theory as it were come from they stem from having analyzed a lot of great literary works. This is true of all kinds of theory. This is true of music theory. They didn't come up with music theory and then Mort start in Beethoven were able to say, OK, there's theory. Let me sit down and write No. People experimented with music and tried a lot of different things, and from that we have what we now know is music theory. So the same thing is true of writing. These rules weren't made up before people wrote people wrote. And through good writing, we sort of we being people who teach writing or what right ourselves said this. These are the good best practices. These are the theories, so keep in mind these are guidelines, not rules. There are many ways to write, and just because we're analyzing these doesn't mean you have to plan everything out verbatim. But it can be a good exercise for you having settle of that. One of the first things that I want you to think about with your death scene is just what is the impact that I want this scene to have on the reader? Do I want my reader to feel shocked? Do I want my reader to feel tremendously sad? Do I want my reader to feel relieved if they you want them to feel conflicted. How do you want them to feel conflicted? Do you want the reader to see the death as something that is almost inevitable? Or do you want the reader to be totally surprised by the death? It's so important for you to think about what is the reader experience that I want them to have? Because a lot of times we just think to ourselves well, this the death scene. I better make it impactful. What kind of an impact do you want to have? Because when you know that you can build to it, which brings me to my other point. It's so important because you need to and we'll get into this in detail. But we're going to be looking at how important it is. You build everything in advance because here's the scene you you're trying to design. You can't in the moment just say OK, I'm going to make my scene. If you did that, then seen by seeing the connectivity of them wouldn't be so relevant. What makes a scene powerful is everything that can comes before it and things that come after it. It's just like in life. Ah, wedding is a momentous scene as it were a momentous event in our lives. And while we put a lot of energy into a wedding and a lot of money, many people do. Um, what makes the wedding emotional and matter is is all of the tender moments that have come before that wedding and all of the expected moments of shared joy and hardship that we expect to follow it. It's all of that that makes the wedding so powerful, and it's all of that that's going to make your death scene so powerful. So you want to be constantly thinking, What? What is it? I want my reader to feel in this scene? What do I want that experience to be? Your story is an experience. To that end, it's so important that you make a character that people are really attached to. Most of the time. It's going to be a character they love. They really love, and they're sorry to lose. But that's not always true, and we will look at a case specifically in this class in which it's not true, in which the main character is actually very unlikable, but that your nonetheless tremendously invested in so it's just characters key here. You really want to make sure that you have done a good job building up your character, not sounds obvious, but it relates to the death scene because if I want my reader to feel certain things about that character's death, I need to make sure that I'm building that in. We're going to look at those things, but it's important for you to keep that in your head as we go through this course now in the next video. What I want to do is just examine the five stages of grief so that we sort of can start to get a handle on what people go through when they experience the loss of someone they care for. 3. Stages of Grief: as we go through these stages of grief, do keep in mind that you don't have to show all of these stages for each character's reaction to a death. So your character, you're going to have a character who dies. You're going to have characters who react to that death. You do not have to make all of these characters go through the five stages of grief. Nor do all people necessarily go through the five stages of grief. What she may very well have are different characters going through different stages at different times, which gives you a tremendous amount of variety, which is one of the things that makes your story seems more realistic. Maurin depth and more interesting to the reader. So the first stage of grief and we just covered these fairly briefly. But it's denial and denial is just where you are. Just you're trying to deal with the loss, and it's almost a grace. It's just you sort of shut down. You sort of go numb. You haven't really processed it yet. When people are in denial there, they're not necessarily even sad when you think they would be, you know it's a wife loses her husband. Someone comes over to our house and she's working on her roses and she seems cheerful and everybody thought, Well, your husband just died. How is she doing her roses and happy? She's in denial. It hasn't hit her yet. And denial doesn't mean I don't know My husband's dead. That's that's not necessary. Would. It is. It's It's just it's a denial of the emotions letting those emotions sinking and hit you. So for some people, it manifests itself is just a They just haven't accepted it yet in there, like Why am I not sad? Why am I not sad now for other people? Denial is there numb. They go numb. Beed are sad, but they're almost in a trance. They just don't know quite what to do. And it's It's a real thing. It's a real psychological thing that sometimes when you go into a trauma, your mind actually does somewhat shut down for periods of time. Just and it could be 30 minutes or could be longer, but that when you experience a trauma, your brain goes into a fog, and that is also part of part of denial. It's that initial stage where you were just trying to come to grips with it, and you're trying to accept the reality of the los eso. You just keep in mind that denial is about your feelings. It's about denying those feelings. And when people go through denial, it's usually this process in which those genuine feelings of loss or regret or or whatever they do feel about that relationship starts to surface. So how does this look in your writing? It can be everything from, say, a young man's father dies, and he never had a good relationship with his father, and it didn't mean that he didn't love his father. He just they just never got on. So when his father dies, he doesn't. He doesn't know how he feels. He's just kind of I don't know what to feel because I wanted a good relationship with my father. I know he was a good man. I know he cared for me, but we somehow always but it adds, and now he's gone, and I don't have a chance to have that relationship with him and fix it, make it better. And I'm kind of confused. What what do I think? And slowly that might then surface into sadness or surface into anger or service into resentment. The deep seated emotions start to come out. What this means for you is that when you are thinking about your characters reacting, you don't want to just think about what's their initial surface reaction. You want to ask yourself, Okay, what are the deep feelings, like one start there? What are my true deep feelings that the character has about this death? Okay, now what are their reactions to that death? And do those reactions tamp those feelings down initially or do this reaction seemed very genuine. Sometimes we're prepared for a death if we know someone slowly dying and it's a sad, slow death, we're ready for it, and we're almost ready for the release of it. They're all kinds of situations like that. But you want to ask yourself, What are my deep, deep character feelings about this? And then one of the reaction said, I'm going to put on top of that and how how do those feelings come up and we start to really see them. So the first stage of grief denial second stage of grief is anger and psychologists would say that this is often a very necessary stage in a healing process. Certainly you don't necessarily go through anger when someone passes away. You just It's just not true, but especially if if there were issues or some contention with the relationship, it is frequently something that someone goes through. Or if you love someone and you felt like they died before their time, you might feel angry. And in the anger stage, which you often see are just It's almost like the floodgates opened. You're still at a stage when you're not processing it. Well, you're asking, you know, why did this happen? How could you do this? How could a world allow this to happen? How could this I'm so upset? How could they be so mean and leave me here alone? Or How could God let this happen? Or all these things is why, Why, you know? And so you go from a denial stage and it's almost like you go to the other end of the spectrum and you sort of are just emotionally volcanic in that neck next stage. And then the third stage is what they be called bargaining and bargaining is something that can happen before a death, and it can happen after a death if we see a death coming if you know someone's sick or someone's in danger. The Borg inning stages were people you know they're there. Okay, God, if you will heal my sister, I'll do X y Z. You know it's trying to bargain your way for them to live. And once they die, the bargaining stage is this sort of, If only. If only I had done this. If only I had been a better son. If only I had called him more. If only I had been there, I could have stopped it. And it's all of this sense of the what ifs. It's the what ifs stage, and it can even be a kind of bargaining in which you're trying to not deal with the pains. You all right? Well, I wasn't good to my father, but now I'm going to go and visit nursing home every week, and and that's going to somehow make up for the fact that I wasn't a good son to my father or something like that. So you see the bargaining stage even as trying to deal with the loss like OK, I have this loss, but I'm going to make it up by doing this. So it's a trying to get on with your life by changing behaviors of your own or promising things. It's it's a way of negotiating yourself out of the hurt that you're now. Keep in mind as we go through this, these stages of grief again, you, not everyone goes through them all. And it's not like a linear thing where it's like, OK, denial, then anger, Then bargaining than this, you you might have one before the other. You might drift in and out of one end to another and come back to another one. So it's not clean cut that you can have a mess of emotion to be going through all sorts of these different things. The fourth stage of grief that there is his depression. And, um, that's where you're suddenly in the moment it's hit you your just sad. This is not mental health depression. This is just a legitimate loss and just a very deep, very just deeper than you ever imagined loss feeling of loss for this person, and it's just a sense of total emptiness and oh my goodness, what is my life now? Because this person is gone and you're just so sad. And then the last stage of grief is acceptance, and what acceptance is not is necessarily going OK. I'm alright now. Acceptance is just coming to peace with it. It's not like you necessarily love it. It's not like you necessarily feel OK about it, but you have accepted that it's happened. You've accepted. You have to go on with your life. It is a stage of readjusting, of finding a new, normal and sort of navigating life going forward without this person. Now those of the general five stages. Why is it important? His writers? We know about this because everyone reacts to grief differently and because you want a genuine variety not only with individuals for you, no person to person but across the spectrum. So you want each character to go through a variety of the emotions and responses to things . But you don't want all the characters to respond the same way because that's not interesting. So understanding these is general stages gives you a jumping off point to say okay, how how much is character ex respond to the death? How does character why respond to the death? Maybe they're both depressed, but they articulate and manifest that depression in different ways. Or maybe she's depressed and he's just angry. And this woman over here has, like, accepted it like that, you know? And as you try to figure those things out, keep in mind the character personalities of those people and the relationships they have with the deceased, because that's part of what's going to influence the kind of reactions that they have. We all experience death so differently. Which brings me to the next video in which we're going to look at emphasizing relationships in creating powerful deaths. 4. Relationships and the Impact of Death: as I mentioned earlier, the relationships that your reader has with the dying character are just as important as the relationships the other characters have to the dying character, part of what's going to influence the readers reaction to that death is going to be seeing how other characters are responding to it, and dealing with it when you focus too much on the death itself is when it can very easily sort of devolved into something that seems almost mushy or a little too emotive. Um, and one of the ways I will tell you, if you really want to know what how'd your death scene is is give it to someone else to read and then just kind of watch their face, because if they start to grimace or seem a little off by, you've written too much emotion and it can sort of turn almost comical. But one of the ways that you avoid that is tending to keep the death sheen. Steph seeing fairly brief and then really putting the impact of the death on those carry two reactions. So if you've ever lost someone, it can be helpful to think about how you responded to that loss. Think about how other people responded to that loss and then think about how your relationships with the other people who are still alive were changed because of the loss. Give you an example so say a girl's father dies. And so we're watching her deal with the sadness of her father, were watching her mother deal with the sadness of her husband. And then we're watching the daughter trying to take care of her mother in a new way and realized that actually now she has to step up into a more nurturing role for her elderly mother than she had to you before because her father was there to take care of her mother in certain ways. Now he's gone, and now she has to lean into this new role that might be very challenging for her, and she has to do it amidst the pain of her father's death. So when we look at these relationships were looking at the relationships of the characters to the deceased, the characters to one another, that's where a lot of this emotion is going to come from, and an example of this I'd like for us to look at is Beth in Little Women, the dying scene of Beth in Little Women. Now, this is what I was able to give you a reading for. If you have not gone and printed out the course rings, I recommend that you do so again. I can only include the ones that are not don't have a copyright issue, So I will be talking about some that I can't give you the actual text for. But all of the books I'm suggesting are fairly easy to find the texts for from a library or something like that. But I'm not going to read the entirety of of the the chapter from Little Women. But I do. I do want to point out a few things, a few things with it, and this is the chapters Chapter 40 and it's the Valley of the Shadow, and the chapter opens. When the first bitterness was over, the family accepted the inevitable and tried to bear it, cheerfully, helping one another by the increased affection which comes to bind households tenderly together in times of trouble. They put away their grief, and each did his or her port toward making that last year a happy one. No, this paragraph tells us so much. It's bypassed a lot of the stages of grief so that we can just kind of get onto a certain part of this story. So this tells us that they did go through stages, that they were very bitter. But now they've reached that acceptance stage of grief and keep in mind. Now little Women is a story about a family, particularly four sisters. So Beth, in this case who dies, is just one of four characters. And of all of the four sisters, she has the smallest role. So we're not losing a protagonist. We're not even losing a good number two. But we are losing someone who we've grown to care about. And one of the other things that's going to be significant about Beth is how much Joe in particular and Joe is. The main character cares for Beth, so we know this is going to hit Joe in particular, very hard, And it goes on to say that they put Beth in the most lovely room. They they had a me, her sister's pretty sketches in it, and Meg, her other sister, would bring over the babies and all these people were doing different things for Beth. Everybody knows she's going to die. So this is a death scene that we're approaching as readers. We know it is coming. We are prepared for it. We were prepared for it before this chapter even happened, because Ben has always been sickly, and we've been given hints that Beth might not make it through the novel. So it's a sadness for us. But what I want you to notice about this chapter is it's building us up toward the death. I'm not saying we're looking forward to the death were not, but we know that it's coming. And so the emotional weight of what we're getting, too, is increasing. It's getting more and more intense, just like if we if we know we have to give a speech and we're terrified of making speeches , then the closer the clock ticks down to when we have to get up there. The more intense were becoming where the more agitated it's the same idea. And then it reads here, cherished like a household ST In its shrine, sat Beth, tranquil and busy as ever, for nothing could change the sweet unselfish nature, and even while preparing to leave life, she tried to make it happier for those who should remain behind. The feeble fingers were never idle, and one of her pleasures was to make little things for the school Children daily passing to and throw to drop a pair of mittens from her window for a pair of purple hands, a needle book for some small mother of many dolls. And on and on we go. And so what we see here now is it's telling us this experience of Beth and how she is approaching her death, and we'll we'll talk about people's approaches to death. You will find that the literary examples I've chosen address so many of the different topics that Beth is approaching her death very gracefully, which is again going to ratchet it up and make it an even harder death for us. If Beth were ungracious of Beth run kind, it would be easier for us to deal with it just because we don't like her so well. The first few months were very happy with, and Beth often used to look around and say how beautiful this is as they all sat together in her sunny room, the baby's kicking and crowing on the floor, mother and sisters working near and father reading in his pleasant voice from the wise old books. And so again, what we're seeing here is how much Louisa May Alcott is building in the community. The relationships This Beth step is all about the relationships and keeps emphasizing that right up into the end, everything the family is so, so close, and it doesn't shy away from the bad things it says. It was well, for all that this peaceful time was given them as preparation for the sad hours to come for buying by, Beth said the needle was so heavy and put it down forever. Talking wearied, her face is troubled. Her pain claimed her for its own, and her tranquil spirit was so roughly perturbed by the ills that vexed her feeble flesh. Ah, me such heavy days, such long, long night such aching hearts and imploring prayers when those who loved her best were forced to see the thin hands stretched out to them, beseeching Lee to hit the bitter cry Help me Help Me! And to feel that there was no help a sad eclipse of the serene soul, a sharp struggle of the young life with death. The both were mercifully brief, and then the natural rebellion over the Old Peace returned more beautiful than ever. With the wreck of her frail body, Beth so grew strong, and though she said little those about her felt that she was ready so that the first pilgrim Cold was likewise the fittest and waited with her on the shore trying to seethe shining ones coming to receive her when she crossed the river. Joe never left her for an hour, since Beth had said, I feel stronger when you're here. She slept on a couch in the room, walking often to renew the fire, to feed, lift or wait upon the patient creature who seldom asked for anything and tried not to make trouble. And it goes on to just sort of describe this sadness that they go through, Um, in these last moments deaths, life and in this passage is that I've read to you it's it's, you know, take time. It's it's were given. It's It's actually tremendously emotional because the author has built us up into this peaceful Beth that We've known all of this book and we're see how she's trying to be brave . And she's trying to be good and gentle in herself and that it just gets so painful and so uncomfortable that she she loses herself. And this is deeply important when we think about a death that is prolonged and painful, that when that happens, the people we love, one of the most painful things about it is watching them not be themselves anymore. And that's one of the really painful things about death. BethStl death Here is how she her sweet, good nature is robbed of her because of the pain because of the struggle. So there's a deep emotional weight there and it goes on which I will. I will let you read it. It's worth reading the entirety of the chapter, but I just want to jump a little bit ahead. Joe sees Beth sleeping, and we finally get a conversation and best sort of says, I don't feel as if I had wasted my life. I'm not so good as you make me, but I I have tried to do right now, when it's too late to begin even to do better. It's such a comfort to know that someone loves me so much and feels as if I'd helped them. And she's speaking about a poem that Joe wrote about that she found Joe responds to wishes more than anyone in the world bed. I used to think I couldn't let you go. But I'm learning to feel that I don't lose you and that she'll be more to me than ever. And death can't Portis, though it seems to I know it cannot, says Beth. I don't fear it any longer, for I'm sure I shall be your Beth. Still to love and help you More than ever. You must take my place, Joe, be everything to father and mother. When I'm gone, they will turn to you. Don't fail them if it's hard to work alone, remember that I don't forget you, that she'll be happier and doing that when writing splendid books, and that she'll be happier doing that than writing splendid books were Seeing All the world for. Love is the only thing that we can carry with us when we go and it makes the end so easy I'll try bit, said Joe. And then and there, Joe renounced her old ambition, pledged herself to a new and better one, acknowledging the poverty of other desires and feeling the blessed solace have a belief in the immortality of love. So the spring days came and went. Sky grew clear, the earth greener. The flowers were up fairly early into the birds came back in time to say goodbye to bed, who like a tired but trustful child flung to the hands that had led her old life. A father and mother guided her tenderly through the Valley of the Shadow and gave her up to God, and I won't read the rest of that chapter. But again, it's worth the read the way it proceeds through. It's like we're just watching this slow, painfully sad death. And what you see through all of the things that Louisa May Alcott talks about is how impactful this is on the family and on Joe in particular. And you see how in that sentence bets just over. We never said that she dies. In fact, she's talking yes about Beth, but also really about the family. When she talks about deaths, deaths, death there just so into you. know in tow, twined. And you also see that with with this story, Louisa May Alcott. It really takes on a religious bend and and moves towards sort of a a lesson in the death, which is something certainly of the time in the style of the writing that Louisa May Alcott would do. That is less a style that one would have now. But you certainly given her style. It's a beautiful thing, and and and it goes on to talk about is the sadness of the family, and they're dealing with it. But what we see in this, and what you'll find in this chapter is how intensely interwoven those familial relationships are. And it's because we see the sad loss that Joe hasn't. We feel this whole family kind of coming around bet, and we feel all of these people so desperately sad to see this girl go, and because we've built up a such a patient kind person that the loss of her, even though she's not one of the main characters, is so severe. And it's because she's always been so sweet and kind, and that it's also she's young and it feels like it's before her time. So it's just a difficult death for the region to deal with. And it's all of those things. It's seeing the family relationships. It's because Beth Young, when she dies, it's because it's so nice when she dies or mean her whole life that it's just terribly sad . So that's what that's what. That's one way you can can sort of look at it and say, That's how one could do relationships Now, other books that we'll look at that really show relationships would be a book like Charlotte's Web, which we will address in more detail a little later on a book like A Tale of Two Cities. What you'll find when we get there is that in Charlotte's Web, the loss is concentrated in a different way because Charlotte's are much more of the main character. And so the loss of Charlotte's death really hits you because it's she's, you know, one of the two main characters in the book, and then um what she'll find with a tale of two cities when we get there is an example of a character who who I never got to have the relationships that he wanted, he loved a girl who didn't love him back. And so it's a loss of the kind of relationship he didn't get toe have. So there are all kinds of ways that relationships can affect the way that those deaths bring themselves out. How do we apply this in writing in the next video? Let's look at some memorable reactions to death and how we can make the reactions in our characters memorable. 5. Memorable Character Reactions to Death: as I mentioned in the last video, focusing on the characters who are left behind is very often a strategy for having an impactful death scene. This does not mean you cannot focus on the dying person themselves. As we saw in the little women chapter, we focus quite a lot on Beth, but there is a great deal of emphasis placed, oh, the places so that you're not trying to just force all of the emotion into a quick passage or two about the death itself. You know, you spread out the passion, and so when you're trying to create these memorable reactions, you want to think to yourself. How do I make the reader feel what my characters are feeling? And one of the ways that we do that is by letting them reader live through the characters who are going to survive the deceased. You show us in a lot of different ways. You can certainly show it through physical manifestations, but you can also show it through their thoughts and their feelings. And that's where a lot of it comes from. If you read that little women chapter, Louisa May Alcott really says, Well, they did this May did this. It's very action oriented. The family is very action oriented, but it also talks so much about their feelings and how they're mentally processing better death. So when you're thinking about describing a death, I really do think about how can I address emotions rather than just the death itself. So, you know, rather than focusing on, ah, puddle of blood or something like that, talk about the girl sitting next to the dying man and she has chills run down her spine or something like that. We don't need all the gritty, gruesome details you can have them. We will look at an example of it, but often times it's much more about those emotional reactions or physical reactions of the characters. You want to remember that this is in the story, one of the most emotional times for your other characters. If this is a big deal, death in the story, this is going to be a maxim, emotion time for your characters. If you watched my other courses, then you know how much emphasis I put on trying to create a spectrum of emotion for a character. Think about how does this character react at her most sad. How does she react at her least, sad and what happens in between? It's just like a painting. If you're painting, what you want to do is establish your darkest dork and your lightest lights and then find your mid tones. That's what's going to create a nice even painting. The same is true writing. If this, you know, is going to be a maximum emotion scene and you want to sit down and take all the characters who are surviving all the people you want to show reactions to and say, All right, what does this emotional reaction look like for them? You will see I have for you to download a short that lets you sort of plot out the characters who are surviving. And it will help you brainstorm the different kinds of reactions that they might have so that you can sort of see a matrix and get a sense of who's doing what. When you do this, make sure that you're thinking about how are they reacting physically? How do they react verbally? How do they react bodily inside of themselves? You know, just internally, what are they thinking up in their head space. How are they reacting to other characters? All of this is listed on that worksheet. But you you want to try to hit a number of points. You don't have to hit all of them. But you you want to give us that variety and we see that we saw that in the Betsy. We heard about their emotions. We saw their conversations, we saw their actions. We saw their reactions. So you want that kind of depth with your writing, and you want to show how a character's missed part of it will make that death scene impactful. Is us seeing what the lost looks like, how it's so empty, you know, as that seen in a Christmas Carol when Scrooge is looking to the future and in the future, Tiny Tim has died and the ghost sort of says, I see an empty chair. It's us seeing the Cratchit so devastated and sad about the loss of Tim that makes Tiny Tim's death so just terribly, terribly sad to us. So really think about that and show me the loss. Show me the devastation of the other characters for this loss. This means that you're dealing a lot with emotion, and when you're dealing with emotion, you have two big questions. How, Who, whose emotions are you dealing with and how much do you deal with those emotions? Now here's the thing. You can't make everyone react. You need to pick the people whose emotions you want to focus on. You will draw the death out to no end. If you feel like everybody has to respond with equal weight, you might have several characters who are affected by the death of another character. But you might just choose to show one or two people's deep reactions and then just give us a quick snippets of a conversation or something that show that other people were struggling to give you an example. Say, Sarah dies and John is so upset about it, their Children Sarah dies. John is very upset, and we go through that process with John. We go through his grief, his anchors pain is not accepting at all of these things. And then, um, there's a scene which John's going to church with his parents and he looks over and he sees Claudette, who whose eyes were completely red and swollen Um and he could tell she was hurting as much as he waas. Now I didn't have to go through all of that. The pain of that Claudette went through. But we see her eyes red and swollen. We understand, and its little ways like that that you can choose. You know, even if you make Claudette in your chart and you say Quote, it goes through these things, it doesn't mean that everything you put in your chart you have to put in your novel. It's a way to brain store, but it's also then you can say, Well, quote, it's not so focused on it. But I've done my little chart, and I know that she's desperately upset about it. So we're going to see her. I swollen and puffy or you know, something like that. Or maybe Claudette was dressed all in black. Or maybe Claudette gives up swimming because of something, just whatever, but that matrix will help you do that. So who obviously the main couch, the main people involved with it, and the people who were going to continue on within the story? Now how much is up to, you know to characters act the same so again to go back to this, have all of your characters, act differently, have them at different stages and don't have an impact them all the same. It shouldn't impact them all the same. For some, it really will just rock their world. And keep in mind that some people are more composed in responses to death, and some people are less. Sometimes that's a response of if you're young and it's the first time you've known someone who's died that affect you one way, and if you're older, then it affects you another way. So so you just what you want is the variety, and you also. If you're going to have a character where that death just rocks their world and you're spending a lot of time with it, then that you still have to push the plot forward. You can't just sit and depressed land and you'll you'll see this as we go through and look at. Look at an example of this, uh, plot is always moving forwards. The Louisa May Alcott book. Of all of the examples we have is the one that takes the most time to just sort of sit in the experience of deaths, slow death, Most of the books we look it do not do that and even the little women. One does push. Push the plot forward to make sure that as you address these emotions as you address these reactions, you are pushing the plot forward. And if you're spending a lot of time on the death itself than that, death has to be deeply shaping to the characters who you're showing me and that death has to affect them the rest of the novel if you're going to give it a lot of time, because otherwise it just feels like an exercise in weeping. If you're going to spend a lot of time on the death, and if you're going to invest a lot of emotional weight in it, that needs to change those characters going forward. The other thing that it's so important to remember and this is why the relationships and reactions are important is that what one character does characters don't act in isolation. And so having multiple characters responses to a death helps us to understand and sort of categorize and navigate the reactions. I'll give you an example if one person in response to a character's death, is just crying her eyes out. We might say to ourselves, Oh, that's a very emotional response. But then we have another character who, in response to the same death, is just livid. He's, she cries. And then he shouting. And then he grabs his father's keys and gets his father's car and just drives away. And he just starts throwing baseballs that he has in the back of the car, through people's windows randomly, he's just so angry. Well, now the girl crying in the kitchen doesn't seem quite so emotional because this young man is really off the rails. So do you see how I feel one way about a character? And I respond one way to that emotion until I see another persons in response to the emotion and then I'm recalibrating who I think is being emotional. So all of these different characters experiences, even if two of those characters never speak, affect me as theme reader and how that death is perceived in the next video, I'd like us to talk about everything that is going to come before and follow the death 6. Leading Up to and Following the Death: as we've already discussed. What really is going to make an impactful death scene is everything that comes before that death scene and then follows that death scene. This means that your character design is so, so critical. I have numerous classes on designing a character people would love. So really take time, go through those. I think they'll help you a lot. When you're thinking about creating a character, people just love. There are a few questions that you can ask yourself that will sort of help make sure that you design a character with the proper traits that when that death happens, we feel the loss of those trades. So some things you want to think about, one B How is this character going to be remembered? So am I going to remember this character like Beth for kindness and her sweetness? Well, if that's true, then you want to one build all of that into Beth up to that point of the death, which Louisa May Alcott does, but then with Louisa May Alcott, especially because the death is dragged out, we see Beth kindness and sweetness play out until the very, very end, so it it's very true and very rail. But you want to and really think about Okay, what are the best traits of my character if I did to steal my character down to three top traits or something like that? What are the things people are going to remember about that character? And what that's going to help you do is build that in to your character going forward. There's far more that we could say about the characters we love than we can ever possibly put into the story. So coming and saying all right, my character is going to been mostly remembered for these three things makes you go thes are the three things that I really need to make sure I'm building into this story, even though it loved to talk about all these other wonderful things about the character. These are the three things that I really need to emphasize, and one of the important things that you want to do when you do this is make sure that you're giving Thedc character who is to die time with all of these other characters who remember him or her. Let me see if you don't have to have a 1,000,001 on one scenes. But I need to see the interactions between that character and all the other main characters who are going to be remembering her. So really, take time. Say all right. I want Beth to be remembered as kind, but then say All right, how is how is Amy going to remember? Beth is kind. How is Joe going to remember Beth s kind? I was more me going to remember, but as kind house Meg going to remember, bet as kind because each of them are going to have different experiences that we'll see loads of experiences. But Amy might remember Beth is so kind. And what might come to her mind is how Beth always let her use her paints. Or Joe might think how Beth always listen to her stories. Or Meg might think how bad Always help take care of the little ones. Whatever it is, Beth is going to demonstrate her kindness to different people in different ways. So you want to think about that which goes back to the video. We were just talking about and about relationships. But when we start to say, focus in and say what do I want my character? Remember this? Now we're focusing on how do I build character who's dying properly so that these emotions are felt? The second question you might think about is what is the loss that the other characters will feel going forward. So what are they going to miss? Its different saying, Beth, I'm going to miss breaths. Kindness. That's fine. But it leaves the hole in your life the loss of a person. It leaves a hole, and that loss can be felt because now you no longer here Beth playing the piano so it can be something more surface like that. But it can also mean that that loss takes away a little bit of the coloring from the world as a whole. C. S. Lewis, in his book The Four Loves, speaks to this very well. He was speaking of, I think, three other friends that he had been a little group of people. They were all friends, and one of the friends died, and he was terribly sad about it, really quite sad. But he said, I did think to myself, maybe a silver lining that now that so and so is gone I would have more time with Bill. I'm making up the names because I don't remember. And so I'd actually develop a closer relationship with Bill because Fred past And of course , I'm very sad Fred past. But that might be a silver lining. And he said What I found was that I didn't get Mawr of Bill. When Fred passed, I got less of him because they were aspect of Bill that Fred could bring out that I couldn't. And now that Fred is gone, I don't get to see those pieces of Bill anymore. So there's a way in which the loss of someone doesn't just affect my relationship with the deceased. It changes how I experience other people who also knew her. And, you know, you know, So you want that kind of what is the loss? What is the whole the gaping hole that is being left by this person's death because you want the reader to feel that loss as well? And the third question that really matters is once you've determined those traits that are just going to be so deeply missed by by the characters, you have to say how my going to specifically developed these traits. In my character, this has to be seen by scene. You have to say, I'm going to have a scene in which Beth does this. I'm going to have a scene in which Beth wants to give up the Christmas meal for the Hummels . I'm going to have a scene in which Beth does X and do know, seen specific. How am I going to build this in? How am I going to do that? Because that's what's going to make deaths death impactful. That's what's going to make it really. So what I'd like to do now is look at another totally sad and powerful debt, and this one's from Charlotte's Web. One of the things that go is going to make this death very different than bets is because Charlotte is just one of the big main characters. It's Charlotte and Wilbur, and those are the two main characters in the story. And we love Charlotte. She is brave. She is a good friend, Sheas strong. She's kind. She is wise. And part of what makes Charlotte's death seems so tragic and unfair is that we have just spent a book in which Charlotte goal has been to save Wilbur's life, and now that she's done it, she is losing hers. So we already as a reader, we've been given a character we love. She's going to die. It just you don't even have to hear the scene. And you think that's unfair? That's not right. Charlotte can't die. She just saved Wilbur. So the whole circumstance of death are sad for us when we focus. Even Maurin on this scene, et White builds to Charlotte's death now, whereas with Beth we saw a lot of action happening around her. E b. White actually gives Charlotte quite a lot, and one of the things that he builds into it is this sort of soliloquy that Charlotte gives in which she's just talking about about life and the beauty of life, the beauty of nature. And she's sort of just pondering her lovely life ISS, And this is before we know she's going to die. So she is getting kind of wise, but But we're not getting that reaction yet. And so what TV wide is doing is actually putting us in the pig Wilbur's shoes. Listening to Charlotte pontificate about life, and we don't know what's coming, but she talks about the beauty and about nature, and then she sort of says about how fleeting life ISS, And it's one of those things that you could say. Yes, yes, life is leading. That's true, but it doesn't resonate until you realize someone's going to die. Wilbur basically says to her, Oh, your you know, you're right and it wont to be so nice for a soul to be back on the farm, and then any White gives us a punch to the gut. And when Wilber says, Won't it be nice to be back on the farm? Charlotte very bluntly says, I will not be going back to the born now. This is not in your readings because of copyright, but I will read some to you. So Charlotte bluntly says, I will not be going back to the born I'm done for, she replied. In a day or two, I'll be dead. I haven't even strength enough to climb down into the crate. I doubt if I have enough silk in my spinners to lower me to the ground. Keep in mind this is a Children's book. It's just stunning. You're like what Charlotte's going to die. You've just you've invested yourself in this character and now she's going to die and Wilbur's responses honestly, a bit over the top. Now it's not over the top for Wilbur because Wilbur is over the top in this book, Um, but he is totally emotional. He breaks down, and even Charlotte thinks he's over the top and she sort of tells him to control himself. And, um so he does. He collects himself, and then he decides he's going to take her exact. He decides shots going to die. I'm going to save her Children and her babies. I'm going to get that exact, and he gets Templeton the rat to climb up and get child's exact and bring it down to him. So we see Wilbur with Charlotte. All this time has saved Wilbur's life. Wilbur catch, Save Charlotte's life, but he can care for babies. And so we see Wilbur take on the brave role that has hitherto been Charlotte's. And so it's a moment of growth for Wilbur, which he needed. He needed this growth, and part of what makes us so powerful is that death has hung in the air over This whole book only has always been Wilbur staff. It's always been will per step. And so we spent the whole book going is what we're going to live on Lee to find. Yes, he is. But Charlotte's going to die. So part of what makes this scene so powerful is that death has been a theme throughout the story. And just when we thought we were clear just when we thought we were in the clear death comes and we see in just little snippets Charlotte die. And again this goes back to me saying, Generally speaking, don't just dwell on the death. Just give me taste So it just give me tastes of it on dso Templeton climbs up, He's going to get the exact and the text reads. He crept along till he reached the egg sac. Charlotte moved aside for him. She was dying, but she still had strength enough to move a little. And then Templeton clicks the egg sac. And the sadness of his death of Charlotte is compounded by the weakness that we see. We see her just being able to slightly move. She's always been so strong. She's always been so strong and yet we have to watch her be so weak. Beth was always weak, but Charlotte was strong. And so we feel that contrast just doesn't feel right. This is not Charlotte, and then Wilbur has to go and he's put into his crate and it reads. But as he was being shoved into the crate, he looked up at Charlotte and gave her a wink. She knew he was saying goodbye in the only way he could, and she knew her Children were safe. Goodbye, she whispered. Then she summoned all her strength and waved one of her front legs at him. She never moved again. Next day, as the Ferris wheel was being taken, a port and the race horses were being loaded into vans, and the entertainers were packing up their belongings and driving away in their trailers. Charlotte died. The fairgrounds were soon deserted. The sheds and buildings were empty and forlorn. The infield was littered with bottles and trash. Nobody of the hundreds of people that had visited the fair I knew that a gray spider had played the most important part of all. No one was with her when she died. Doesn't it just hit you, it just hits you and it hits you. For all of the reasons we were saying how unfair it seems that Charlotte does all of these things to save Wilbur's life. Wilbur has this. He's the show Piggy Asil, this attention. And then you just get this sad scene of the fair, totally empty, trash filled. It's not a beautiful place Charlotte's talked about, you know, her soliloquy, the loveliness of nature. But she dies in a deserted, trashy fairground alone. And there is something in us that hates to think of someone dying alone, especially someone so good and she dies by herself. And there's so much that's said in that her death isn't totally immediate, its impending, but it's not immediate. The unsaid piece of that is that Charlotte had a time, however shorter, long where she got weaker and weaker, slowly dying, not able to move being alone. And that is sad. So there is such a silencing to this death, Beth Sweet, kind and all of that. But Louisa May Alcott built a lot of activity into that, and it's fine. They're both wonderful scenes, a lot of activity built into the death scene there's just a lot happening. Charlotte's death scene is infinitely shorter, and her death itself isn't described. If you read it, White describes before she dies and then sort of tells us that no one was with her when she died, but we don't see her breathed her last. But there's a wait, Ah, wait of emotional just for something so silent it is just It hits you in echoes. And so much of that is because off everything that has led up to this the themes of death, Charlotte's bravery that she saved Wilbur what Charlotte going to be remembered for. Her kindness, her bravery, her intelligence. And she demonstrates all of those things. In the moments before her death, she saved Wilbur. She's so smart and sharp, and that even when she tells Wilbur she is going to die and he breaks down, Charlotte is the one to help Wilbur be composed and collect himself. She never loses her composure. We see her die so bravely, and we see her die with such acceptance. She just has a sense that this is life, and this is how life is. It's so sad and it's so beautifully written. I recommend reading the book in its entirety to feel and the maximum impact impact of that death. But one of the things I really want to focus on the matter noticed how white uses the setting, how much she she'll talk about nature and then the description of the fair and the Ferris wheel taken a port, the racehorses, the trailers, the deserted fairground. The sheds were empty and forlorn, Thean fields littered with bottles. And this so that that setting is part of what makes it sad. It just He describes the emptiness of the fairgrounds, which really makes us feel the dying alone. We wouldn't even feel the dying alone so much, except that he painted this just empty landscape, and if it had been an empty fairground before the fair had been set up, it wouldn't have been the same. What from part of what makes it feel so empty is that the fair was just the other day, bustling with excitement and people, and that the remnants of that haven't been cleaned up yet so that what we see feels more empty than it would if it were clean and expecting people in a few weeks of things to notice in. This is the contrast of Charlotte and Wilbur's emotions concerning death, her acceptance versus his over emotion of it. And then, um, just the one sentence line about her death. No one was with her when she died. That is just a punch to the gut and its brief, and it just hits home. And White doesn't have to describe all of these details. Toe have it be so tremendously impactful. So that's another scene. It's the South's. This is a sad course to teach everyone, um, but, um, that's another very emotional, emotional and weighty seen. What I'd like to do in the next video is just touch briefly on how detailed one might be in a death scene, and then we're going to look at a scene that's tremendously descriptive. 7. Detail and Length: One question I get so frequently is how detailed should my death scene be, and how much time should I spend on it? And the long The short answer is, however long or short, you feel it needs to be you saw where there's a whole chapter was spent on Beth Death, and Charlotte's death is much shorter but incredibly weighty. So do you want something descriptive, or do you want something understated? I tend to think something brief and understated is better. The longer it goes on, the more where yes, sad but ready to move on. So it's always better to exit soon when people are missing you than overstate things you want to ask yourself is when you're writing that, Do I want to spend more time on the death? Do I want to spend more time on the reactions? Where do I want to place my emphasis? And when you do that and you say, Well, OK, if I'm going to write this death scene, one of the things I focus on now we've already talked about some of these you focusing on the other characters, focusing on the loss of those characters of the things you want to think about her focus on the good qualities of the character in Beth and in Charlotte's scene. Those characters in their last moments demonstrate everything that we love about those characters. And another very effective thing you can do is just to remind the reader. How has the character grown over the course of the story? And this varies depending on the story. Beth doesn't grow a lot in little women, so we don't see that growth necessarily happen. Charlotte also doesn't grow a lot. She's Charlotte throughout. Wilbur is the one who really grows. But there are stories in which some people do grow and we will look at one of those. And when that happens, it's often a good idea to look at that growth and and make sure the reader remembers that that growth has happened because it will make us feel the loss more so. These are just some things to think about when you're writing. What I recommend is doing some planning out. If you take the time to sort of create the touch points that you want for your story, I know I want to show Person X, y and Z's reactions. And then you can say to yourself, Well, who was it? Who is most important out of person? X y and z Person X When you spend most of my Thailand Person X, but I need to do a little bit of person wine Person Z Are they together? Are they not? What, specifically are the reactions of those people? Do they interact? It'll once you start to actually answer some of those specific questions. In many ways, the scene starts to right itself. When the scene gets too long is when it just feels like I got it and you will find a particular, particularly Louisa May Alcott's chapter can lean on the long side for a death, for sure, but her writing style tends to protract things. White style is far more potent, in my opinion, because he doesn't prolong it, and so I tend to think that's more powerful. But that's my preference. There's a lot of great literary work of different kinds, but, um, just as you're writing it, make your point and then move on. I've said this and my other courses. It's OK if you're trying to make the point that we're going to miss Charlotte. Um, you know what? The fairgrounds. We're going to miss her kindness. We're going to miss this or that. But say you show me at once and then show me a different side of it. You can't keep beating a dead horse. On the case of Charlotte's Web, White doesn't spend a lot of time on Oh, what are we going to miss about college or this or that? We feel that lost later when they're back the Born. But in the moment itself, he just spend a lot of time on them. He focuses on Wilbur's reaction. We're jumping immediately to Will were trying to save our babies, jumping immediately to that last paragraph where she does die so it moves quick. But we still see in that scene the things we're going to lose. We see all the beautiful things about Charlotte that we're going to lose. We see Wilbur's reaction, which is so sad we see Templeton's reaction, which is so selfish. Templeton knows she's going to die as well, and he doesn't seem sad. He just wants food. We see a lot of the things we've discussed just didn't breathe part of what's going too deep. Determine how long your Sina's is your writing style, but just keep in mind. You can't don't go on and on about it and avoid Selous soliloquies by characters who are just wanting to remember someone. And if a weighed long, long, long pontificating soliloquies by the dead in which they're going to impart a lot of great knowledge on to the reader. A lot of people want to do that. It is, I don't know, that I've ever seen to be successful. Charlotte's little soliloquy before she announces her death is about as close to that you're going to get and have it be OK. So having said that, let's take an example of a scene that actually is quite long for a death scene and focuses much on the debt. 8. Horrifically Descriptive Death Scenes: Okay, so we've had to very heart wrenching death scenes from characters we love so hard, so hard to teach the. But what I'd like to do now is to talk about the death of a character who you might not love but who is actually the main character of the story. And that is Emma Bovary from Madame Bovary. And this is also in your readings. I'm not going to read the whole thing to you, but I have included quite a chunk of it. And what I can say about horrifically descriptive scenes, which is how I'm describing this, is that they tend to focus on the specifics of the death and the actual character rather than the responses. Now Flaubert absolutely addresses responses to Emma's death post what I've given you, so there's much more that could be read about it, and if its interest to you, then do go read the rest of the book. But, um, these are often also scenes when you want to really focus on the scene, and especially when they're horrifically like the one we're about to look at is part of what can make them seem so shocking is, um, some kind of a contrast. So as we're going to see, Emma dies a very unappealing death. And she in the novel is this beautiful woman who men are enticed to and men think she's so lovely and she's attractive and she's using her looks to get things. So for her to die, this very physically undesirable death is particularly shocking to us. So when you're trying for the horrific, think about the contrasts and think about the shock values that you might go through. So let's take a look at this chapter. Ending is on your reading, and this is such a potent and powerful death, and it goes on for a long time. And basically she's taken poison, and she tried to kill herself, and she probably thought it was going to go very quickly. But it it hasn't. It's gone very slowly, and her husband comes in and she's dying. And she's just reacting to all of this medicine that she has taken. And she's she's not mentally coach, and she's not totally there. And so it reads, and I'm just going to read bits of this tube. It's all in your reading on Dshea. Suddenly I felt such a sudden nausea that she scarcely had time to pull her handkerchief from under her pillow. And she goes on and she's sick and she's mentally just all over the place. And then, delicately, almost caressing her, he passed his hand. This her husband and her husband is there, and he's trying to help her, and it reads. And then, delicately, almost caressing her, he passed his hand across her stomach. She screamed. He leaped back in alarm. Now she began to groan feebly at first. Ah, great shudder ran through her shoulders, and she turned whiter and then a sheet she was clutching with her rigid fingers. The irregular pulse was now almost imperceptible. Drops of sweat were trickling down her face, which was turning blue and looked as though it had been coated in the fumes of some metallic compound. Her teeth were chattering. Her bulging eyes stared vaguely around the room and every question, she replied with merely a shake of the head. She even smiled. Two or three times. A stifled scream escaped her lips. She said she was feeling better and would be getting up soon, but she was seized by convulsions. She cried out. Oh my God, it's horrible! He fell to his knees by her bed. Tell me, what have you eaten? Say something that happened sake And he looked at her with tenderness is eyes that she had never seen before. And then she kind of direct him over and he sees the poison. Um, and he's just overcome by the fact that his wife has taken this poison because he hadn't noted. He just come in and found her sick so they do what they can to try to save her. And we go through this whole scene of just all these people reacting to Emma's death and maybe trying to be there or not. And he's, he's he's so upset that it's happened. He's blaming himself, and a lot of time is spent on Charles reaction to this. While Emma is dying and we Emma's child is brought in, we see the child's reaction to the dying. We see her servants reaction to the dying. So on and on this is going and then in and out, in and out. We're getting these horrific scenes of Emma and how violent this is, and, um, the symptoms left off a moment and with everything award. With every calmer breath, he being her husband, found new hope. And then she would just get sick again. Soon she was vomited blood. Her lips were drawn tighter. Her limbs were rigid, her body covered in brown patches, and her pulse raced away beneath your fingers like a talk thread, like a harp string just before it breaks. Now she was screaming horribly. She cursed the poison, vilified it, begged it to hurry and, with her stiffened arms, pushed away everything that Charles, in his agony greater than hers, tried to make her drink. He was standing there with his handkerchief to his lips, choking, weeping and racket by the sobs that shook him from head to foot. Phyllis, it was running here and there around the room, and it is chaos. Everyone's trying to fix the problem, and Emma is dying so violently that what you're seeing this is just action action, action action until it finally slows down. And we're at this point words. It's slowed down and said over the room when they went in was full of mournfully mournful solemnity on the work table, covered over with white cloth There were five or six small balls of cotton in a silver dish near large crucifix between two lighting candles. Emma, her chin sunken upon her breast, had her eyes inordinately wide open and her poor hands wandering over the sheets with that hideous and soft movement of the dying, that seems, is that they wanted already to cover themselves with the shroud. Pail is a statue, and with eyes red is fire. Charles, not weeping, should opposite her at the foot of the bed, while the priest bending one knee, was muttering words in a low voice, and to then the priest rose to take the crucifix. Then she stretched forward her neck as one who is a thirst and gluing her lips to the body of the Man of God. She pressed upon it with all her expiring strength, the fullest kissed of love that she had ever given. And then he recites some versus over her. He dips his thumb in the oil, and he sort of praise praise over Emma. And then it reads. He prays over her first upon the eyes that had so coveted all the worldly pump, then upon the nostrils that had been greedy of the warm breeze and amorous odors, then upon the mouth that had uttered lies that had curled with pride and cried out and lewdness, then upon the hands that have delighted in sensual touches. And finally, upon the soles of the feet so swift of your when she was running to safety to satisfy her desires that would now walk no more. And so then we see here that the end right at the end, Emma raised herself like a galvanized corpse, her hair undone, her eyes fixed, staring and she says this random quote and then she falls back on her mattress in a convulsion and she dies. This you will see if you read it, is a death scene that goes on and on and on. It's also one that deeply emphasises those character relationships that we say are so important. But what I want you to take away from this scene is how much action is happening, particularly for those of you who like to write those action scenes. Even though M is not, you know, it's not a fighting suspense type thriller book. This is a very action scene. There is a lot of movement happening. It's very fast paced, and it's very gritty and it's very real and flow. Bear does not pull punches, which is his style and one of the things that really shows I mentioned earlier in the class to talk about the the development of the character. Emma has been selfish and horrible this whole time. It isn't until this scene where we even start to see a turn in her character, and you could question how much her character's really turned or not. But what we do see is that there is a piece of hurt that has turned because she sees in Charles, um ah, love in his eyes that she had never seen before. So do you see how, especially if you've read the book? She was young, She was beautiful. She was full of life. She gets tremendously desperate because she owes people all of his money and where she thinks she's got no option but to kill herself. And it's an interesting read early reaction, because M is not likable. She is the main character, but her husband, Charles, is the likeable one. Emma's not you don't admire her as a reader. You don't think she's a good person. You don't read this scene and go, Oh, no, it's so sad. Emma, die. You don't you tend to feel like Emma. I don't want to say got what she deserved. I don't want to say that That's not what I mean, But you just sort of feel like, Well, I'm not surprised that it ended here is kind of where it is. It's still this horrifyingly shocking just oh, description of how she dies and so gritty. What you do see and where your sympathy does go is to her husband, Charles, and to, and I it goes to her as you wished. It could have been different. She is flawed like we all are. And there is a sense in which, when you see how loving Charles Waas, he would have forgiven her. She had someone who loved her. She had a place to go, and you want to think that she could have become someone better. And you got the sense that in her death, death, maybe that's what it took, that she could have gotten there and and maybe didn't just the last moments of her life. But she lived such a sad life, and the sadness was off her own making. And that's what makes this scene so sad again. It's everything that you build up to the debt that's going to give me a certain reaction to that death. And because Emma is just, she's actually been given so much a loving husband and daughter, and it's because she strives after these things that will never satisfy her. That will never make her happy. And you know that is a reader. And to the experience of reading this novel is like watching a slow train wreck so that when you get to the death scene, it's like the crash that you knew was coming in some form or fashion. It gives a finality to Emma's story, and you almost get the sense that the only other way I mean, you don't know how else you could see it ending. This is a great example of the way. If you want something that feels fast in all its gritty detail, you would do it. Notice the sentence Structures, noticed the emphasis on all of the emotions of the characters, but notice how it punches through it. Just in this and this and this then this, and it's very action oriented. Charles cried. Felicity ran. The child, hugged. It really hits home now, with deaths seen, there was activity happening. But what she notices that Louisa May Alcott's sentences are I mean, first of all, the death itself is not violent like this. Death is but Louisa May Alcott's sentence structures slow it down. And that's part of what you want to think about when you're writing these death scenes. When you're looking for something very fast paced to action oriented, you don't want a peaceful death scene. I'm going to read. Then don't be like every white. And don't be like Louisa May Alcott write something that's punchy and forward moving because that that's going to give it that energy in that chaos, which is what you get with this. This scene there is another scene that is quite horrifically descriptive, um, which I cannot give to you to read, but I will read it to you, and this one is also a very gritty, very riel scene, but much shorter, and it's from the book. My brother Sam is dead and don't need to get into all of it. It takes place in, um, Revolutionary War Times and the main character there. Two brothers, Tim and his brother Sam. So Sam is a freedom fighter, but he's been caught by the British and they're going to kill him. He's going to be shot by firing Squad, and his brother goes to that hanging and the story picks up Tim. It's a first person Tim, narrating I hadn't seen Sam, but now they brought him out from somewhere in a bunch of soldiers, sort of shoved him into the empty space in front of the gallows. He had a sack over his head to, and I wondered what it was like to be inside of that. Was it hot and did it itch? Mr. Borden came out and said into the prayer over Sam. I tried to pray myself, but my mouth was dry and I couldn't get the words out. They turned Sam sideways to the crowd. Three soldiers stepped in front of him and raised their muskets. They were so close, the gun muzzles almost were almost touching. Sam's close. I heard myself scream. Don't shoot him, Don't shoot him. And at that moment, Sam slammed backwards is that he'd been knocked over by a mallet. I never heard the guns roar. He hit the ground on his belly and flopped over on his back. He wasn't dead yet. He lay there, shaking and thrashing about his knees, jerking up and down. They had shot him from so close that his clothes were on fire. He went on, jerking with flames on his chest until another soldiers shot him again. Then he stopped jerking. And that's the thing. And it's just gritty and its vivid. And it's Do you see how this scene and then the Madame Bovary seen focused much more on the death, like exactly what's happening to them physically? And if you're looking for that sort of impactful powerful punch, then I really want you to see the sorts of things they look at with Madame Bovary. We're looking at like her eyes, her face, her lips, her mouth. If he doesn't necessarily draw the whole scene, that when we're looking at the dead person, we really, really focus in now. We can't necessarily do that here because we're in Tim's perspective. First person were pulled back. All we can see a Sam from a distance, so we're not going to be focusing in on Sam's eyes or anything like that. All we can see is this flopping person who's just rolling over and pain trying to get the fire out of him dying. Um, so there are different responses to it, but this one's much, much shorter. What this one is is a concentrated. This is what happened without all of the emotional response happening around it. The emotional response happens before it happens after it, so that we just get a very concentrated death scene right there. So those are two examples where you have that kind of concentrated pretty death scene, one much more contextualized by the emotion and the reactions of the remaining characters around, and one less so all right, Having looked at those, let's talk a little bit about how one dies. 9. Composure: How One Dies: just a few points on how someone dies just their composure or lack there off. This is something you'll really want to think about as you're writing your characters. Everything kind of comes out when one dies. You're, you know, with Emma. You just saw a lot of her fear coming out with sure that you saw her. Her composure and her wisdom come out with Beth. You saw her kindness and her patient come out. So Beth and Charlotte are very accepting of their deaths. Emma is not accepting off her death at all. She is sick. She wants it over. But it's a miserable, dying death. Sam doesn't want to die, but really has no choice in it. And what you see with my brother Sam, it's dead as we don't again, because it's that first person perspective. We don't get to be inside Sam's head. We don't know what he's thinking. So when you think about someone dying, you really want to ask yourself, Well, how does my character die? Is it sort of Ah, I don't give up. Or is it an acceptance? And how does that affect things? And are they afraid? Are they ready do they say anything? Do they fight? Do they not? Did they let it happen? These are the sorts of questions you want to ask yourself because they play such a port in to Kill a Mockingbird. Tom Robinson, who has just been on trial for supposedly raping a white woman. And he is He's an African American, and it's in the South during a time that was incredibly racist, and he's obviously not guilty, but he's been accused. He has been found guilty, and we go through this book. Seeing Tom Robinson is a very good man, seeing that he is being accused by people who are not good, seeing the system is rigged against him and all of the racism surrounding this trial, and it's just it hits very hard when he is found guilty. And then we learn after the fact that Tom Robinson was killed because he was just he had been composed, and then he just sort of freaks out. And when the police are sort of taking him and moving him from one place to another, he breaks 40 runs and they shoot him and he dies. And it's tremendously sad because his attorney Atticus was going to appeal, he felt they had a chance. It's a very sad scene. That's a scene that's tremendously about fear. It's one that I can't give you because of copyright. But I do recommend going and reading it. It's very brief with the description of Robinson's deaths very quick, but that's a description of someone who's afraid. I was afraid when he dies, which is another fear. Emma's afraid when she dies, but it's much more just this fear and pain. And when will the pain be over? There are all kinds of ways that one can die, and this is your character's final act. How do you want them to go out? How do you want people to see them? So really take time to think about what do I want the last memory of my character to be? And how do I solidify that character in this last scene by his or her actions? So in the next video and I'd like us to do is look at someone who does and noble death a sacrificial death 10. Sacrificial Death: We've looked at several kinds of death here. We have looked at a young girl who dies too young and peacefully. We've looked at a woman who dies very violently and lived a rough life. We've looked at a young man who dies rather violently and you know sadly. But he was finding fighting for for his good. And we've watched a spider die very Sacrificial e. So we have seen a sacrificial death in Charlotte. She really did give her energy in her time to Wilbur and eventually died. But it's not necessarily a direct death. We don't necessarily read it. Go Because Charlotte helped Wilbur. She died. She was going to die. It was her time, but she gave her life to helping him. The death that I want us to touch briefly on now is one in which someone absolutely does give his life for someone else's. And that is Sydney Carton in Charles Dickens, a tale of two cities. This is one that you do have. I'm not going to read it all to you, but it's a really good example of building up a character that readers will love on Lee. One of the things that is really interesting about Sydney is he's not necessarily an exemplary man. He's kind of a drunk, and he's not the most upstanding person in always. But he's very likable and he is a good character in the story, and we like him very much and he's in over the girl who's in love with someone else. So you definitely goes to this story and you like both men, and it's easy to kind of wish that she could end up with Sydney in some ways because you do really like Sydney, and what happens is that this is during the French Revolution and the the boy that the girl likes. The young man the girl likes ends up being put into jail to have his head cut off, and she's devastated about it. And he's a very good young man, and she's a very nice girl. And Sidney ultimately decides to help save this young man's life. He hatches a plan. He goes into the prison cell where the young man is to visit him, and by all of these different means. He trades places with the young man and the young man leaves and Sydney stays in the cell knowing that he is going to be the one to face the guillotine the next day. And indeed he does. So that's the story. And the book ends with him walking, walking to his death. And part of what makes this death so tragic is that he really changes. He kind of starts. Is this in different sort of drunkard who really does end up fighting for coldness? He has to believe that he he he makes a transformation and he becomes a much better person . And his death is one of the great deaths in literature in terms off the just the sadness that the readers have when they think about it. Those of you who are interested in, um, metaphor and in themes and in symbolism should definitely look at this one. Sydney is absolutely a Christ like figure, and Dickins really works that into the story, and, you know, as you read it, Dickins puts in a lot of resurrection imagery into the story, and even his card in is going to the guillotine. He even says. The narrator says, that he envisions this sort of beautiful, idyllic place. It's almost like he's imagining heaven but we see someone who is going to die a very composed death. It is brave of him to take this young man's place, and we go through a touching scene where there's another woman who is also going to go to the guillotine, and he sort of helps to keep her calm. He gives her a kiss. He's very gentle, he's very kind. And he sort of goes on to a better place. Um, or that's how that's how he sees it. And he has that, that final line to the far, far better thing I do then I have ever done to support for a better place. I go then I have been and that that's the end. Does this quote of hiss But it sound for us because we really did. As much as we know that Darnay, who's the good young man, is a better fit for Lucy, Um, we air so attached to Sydney that it's hard for us to not be tremendously sad that it is he who has died. I also noticed with this one as you read it, it's a death that highlights the historical times, so it really comes against a backdrop. So those of you who are really interested into world building this book and this death scene tremendously highlight the world that is, that is being made. And so that's one to really think about. It highlights those historical times in revolutionary friends. One of the other things that makes this testy so strange is that at the same time that Sydney's on this mission to take this young man's place and everything else and you want him to succeed in the mission because you want the young man to get out. But you also don't want him to succeed in the mission because you don't want Sydney to die . So you're put in a lose lose situation. Somebody's going to die. And it's also a win win situation, and it just makes for interesting read. But it's worth it's worth reading through. I'm not going to read it all to you. It's tremendously Dick Dickens, so it's very descriptive. It's a language that most people would not right in today. But what you're going to see when you do read it is his kind actions, but also his thoughts and his his imaginings and his mentality, which is so much in it. And then again the quote, which I just misquoted, lifted earlier. But it's the far, far better thing I do than I have ever done. It is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known. And so that's supposed to kind of end on a on a hopeful note, even though it's a tragic note. So that's when I recommend reading again for someone who is dying, a composed debt and the other thing to take away from this is last words thinking about what those last words might be. Ah, lot of times the last words are not this profound punk. You punctuation in the story, but they definitely are here. And if you are going to come up with those last words, you just want them surrounded in a way. Give them patting in space the reason that they work so well. Here's the last line. It's all we've got are his last words. If you're going to have last words in between and the story continues, give me a pause as a reader and let me sit with those with those words, all right. Having looked at all of this. What I'd like to do is take and look at one final death scene. And this is when, um you learn about a death after the fact? 11. Learning About a Death After it Happens: we are in the home stretch and I have to confess. I'm rather glad because it's such a a sad topic, this last one. I don't have for you in the readings because of copyright, but, um, worth getting the book for sure will be looking at the bridge to Terabithia. And this'd is one. This is a scene in which you do not see the death scene. So remember, we don't have to see the death scene. We can hear about it later. But there is something very important to remember when we hear about a death scene after the fact, and that is that it puts an additional filter on the death. If I'm the author describing the death scene to you, you were seeing the death scene. But if you are having a character, relate that death scene to the reader, you know, like a character relates the death scene to another character. And that's how the reader learns about it. You've put into the filter on it. I don't get to watch that death for myself. I'm getting it as I am able to hear about it from the character. And that means the character is going to talk about the things that he or she remembers or saw or focused on or thinks about. Ah, father describing his daughter's death is going to say different things than her best friend is going to say if she sees the death. So it's a way to If you really want to come at a death from a specific angle and you want to pull yourself out of the off author voice and come in at the angle of a character voice , this is the way to do it. It's also interesting way in the sense that especially when it's unexpected, it's going to put the burden on all of the reaction because we've skipped the death itself and we've jumped right to all of the reactions to the death. So Leslie Burke in Bridge to Terabithia Brief story overview. Two Children, Leslie and her friend Leslie Girl and her friends, Jess, Boy and Leslie is very adventurous. She's brave, she's fun and young, and she brings Jess out of his show. And the whole book is about their friendship and about brave, wonderful fun, exciting, daring Leslie bringing just out of his shell and then basically, Jeff comes back and he learns that Leslie is dead, that she was swinging out in this place, that they play and it broke and she fell. She must have hit her head and couldn't swim and she died. And Jess is shocked. And honestly, the reader is shocked because it's Leslie and Lesley seemed so full of life, and Leslie did not seem like she would die. She seemed so capable. So we have. The readers are shocked to learn it, and we don't see it coming and just didn't see it coming. And what makes this scene so potent really do recommend getting the book and reading it is when we talk about the five stages of grief. Oh my. Do we ever see Jeff go through them? Jeff goes through Jess. Sorry just goes through, Um, a lot of these stages. He is a young boy. He's never dealt with death and we see him just so struggled to process it. We see him go through the denial. We see him go through anger. We see the reaction of Lesley's father off Jesse's father of other people. We see let last rites and Leslie's burials. We see all of these things and and, you know, just yells. He runs out of the house. His father goes after him. There's this very painful experience where he then has to go pay respects to her family, and the book itself doesn't focus on Lizzie's actual death. It totally focuses on the ramifications of it, the relationships involved in it that the book is tracking with Jess so we can't see the debt just as the main character. So we all we can do is have just hear it. But because of the book where we're tracking with Jess and he hears it, we get to experience it almost the way that Jess does. And so more so than any of the other stories at examples that we've looked at. This is the one where we feel exactly what the characters feeling in reaction to it. We've been injustice had this whole time. Leslie, while she's the main character, is not the protagonist of the film. The protagonist is Jess. We feel the shock of it, and he they dwell on it for some time, how he and he does different things. We don't stay, he doesn't do the same things but he is upset and he deals with this and we watched and have to go through the experience of someone dying. And the book puts a lot of time on this because it's an important point of the book. 22 for Children and young people to talk about death, have a dialogue about death. So it is incredibly important sense of it. And one of the things that makes this so powerful is that we see Jess not know what he's even feeling. He's never experienced it before. He doesn't know how to process is he doesn't know how to talk about this. Don't feel when you're writing your character responses that your characters always have to know exactly what they're feeling or be able to articulate it because they don't and just doesn't. He's got all this emotion bubbling up from nowhere, and he doesn't know what to do with it. And he's surrounded by these. Initially, he's surrounded by these adults and they're all crying and he's holding it together, and he's never seen all these adults be emotional, so he just thinks they're off the rails. He's just like what is going on? Why are people, so we be and everything else. And so he takes almost this sense of pride that he is not crying. And, um, he even has this very realistic moment where he thinks about how Leslie's death is going to affect his position at school, which seems cold. And, you know, it's not cold, you know that. He's just in denial right now. Leslie was his dear friend, Andi. That's the sort of denial, Um, and he seems okay with it until he learns she's to be cremated, and then that's when it hits him. That's his moment of Oh my goodness, it's for real. And then he gets angry. He cries, he runs off, and he's angry, and we just watched him go through these stages. It is a tremendously powerful death scene. It is one of the powerful Destin's in literature, particularly literature of the 20th century. So it's one that I wish I wish so much I could give you the text up, but I can't, but I recommend that you go and you read it and you watch how we track with the main character and his responses to this. How he goes through the five stages of grief and how he responds. Everything just does isn't a response to the things that he's seeing, and it's not like that through the whole book. But what we see and feel is that because the authors put us in that position, we feel how reactive Jax is, and we feel like, got no control right now. Not he. Life is out of control, just does not have control over life. This is just going to be a challenge, and it iss you feel that just feels out of control. You feel that he feels everything's happening and he has no say in it. You feel that he doesn't understand what he feels and that all of that confusion of Jesse's surrounded by thes adults who this isn't the first death they've known their so deeply sad , and they're expressing that emotion. But they're able to do it in a more healthy way because it's not new to them. And again, think back to what I was saying about the contrasts and characters, and how would you see one character do in another character helps you to contextualized and understand all of the characters that's all woven in to the reactions to Leslie's death. And there's a riel potent nous to experiencing it and hearing about it on Lee afterward, we really sit with Charlotte and her death. We don't sit with Leslie. We don't see Leslie stuff. We don't focus on Leslie's death. And in fact, as we read through this, we really don't we don't sit. I mean, yes, you can sit there, be thoughtful and think Ho was Leslie. You know what happened to she? Did she pass out right away? Was she okay and all of that? But because it's after the fact and because Jess is the main character, were not really focused on Leslie is experience. We go straight to Jess. That doesn't make it less tragic. You don't have to focus on the death of the actual character. You can jump right to the reaction if that's what's best for your story. So I recommend going and reading that one because it is so, so powerful. All right. In the next video, I would like to address some common pitfalls and questions that I have had over the years talking about how to create an impactful death scene. 12. Common Pitfalls and Class Project: Okay, we're nearing the end. We're nearing the end. So a few things that commonly come up just when window like, When do I kilocharacter off? You can do this in different ways. Very often. It comes at the end of the story. This would be true of Charlotte's Web Bridge to Terabithia. My brother Stan is dead. Most of the books that I've showed you, not all of them. It doesn't in Beth, because we have our main characters to keep on going so you can kill a character off. If it's if it's a main character needs to happen at the end. If it's not a main character, think about not just necessarily when you don't need them anymore. But think about what's going to create an impactful experience. Killing someone off before we quite seemed ready for. It is a way to really hit the reader and give them that kind of shock and makes it very sad because we feel like the characters reached the middle of his or her character arc. And then he's gone and, um, so, like, we've got a character who wants to, you know, save the princess, and he's killed before he can do that. We're just suddenly like what? I mean, if you saved the princess and then he died, that's too bad. But at least he saved her. But if he couldn't even say Verdery died in the middle of it, you just feel the weight of that. It doesn't feel right. Does That's alright, shouldn't happen that way. So that's something to think about, other things to think about. It's just Were they ready to die? If they are, it can be really quite sad because they know that it's about to happen. That would be the case of, like a tale of two cities with Sydney, but if they're not, it's heartbreaking because they weren't ready to die. So either way, there are just things they're going to happen when people say, When do I do it? I think you you need to know your plot and think about. If this is not a primary character, which it probably isn't your your protagonist, it's probably a significant character, but not your protagonist. You've got certain plot points. You need to work those in Now you might say to yourself, Well, Joe needs to die somewhere in here But where do I make that happen? Then you want to say to yourself, What is the position of the other characters again? This is about relationships. So it's not just, oh, where does it fit for Joe? Where is it going to hit everybody at a place that's going to have the maximum impact? I think in those terms, and it will help you to come up with 20. Kill your character if it's not going to be at the end. Common pitfalls I would avoid do avoid shock value. Now the grittiness of saying Madame Bovary or my brother Sam is dead. Madame Bovary has a a bit of shock value to it. It does, but Flubber is really just going for a grittiness. He's not trying to necessarily. I think he is trying to do some shock to you because she's so violent and so the opposite of what she has tried to be, which is beautiful and everything else. But people can take shock value too far, and it can be a cheap shot. It's much better to build something genuine. A lot of people say don't make a death predictable. I agree with that. We can see a death coming like Beth, we kind of see it coming that Beth is probably going to die. But that doesn't mean it has to be totally, totally predictable in the way that it happens. So just don't be cliche in your wording of how you say things. Don't be predictable that we had to see it coming, that someone was going to die. Um, again, the cliches don't use the same terms everyone else uses for it. If you read it, another books don't use it. And then the last thing I would say is just being overly dramatic. It's the largest pitfall I see. And it's where you're trying to cram all of the emotion right into that scene rather than spread it out and have the emotion gradually built to it. Don't do not sit down to that death scene. And if you sit down to that, you took okay. Time to write in my emotion. You haven't done it right. That death scene writing that should feel rather natural. If you've built up to it properly, it will feel natural, and you will not feel like you have to suddenly push a lot of emotion into the page because you'll have built to it. If you sit down and you feel like you're pushing emotion into the page, then you haven't probably built up to it properly because it's all coming down to this moment. Okay, um, if you're trying to get in the mood, then I highly recommend actually, just sad music. Um, some people I know get benefit out of reading some sad books or watching sad scenes in movies. But for many, many people, I know that sad music nothing quite like sad music to just make you in the moment to write a sad see soundtracks to films are often very helpful in this regard, as well as some beautiful pieces of classical music. So those are just some common pitfalls and things that I see happening with people now in terms of your class assignment. Basically, I would like you for this to work on a death scene. This it's up. It's a weighty subject. It's so much, it's so big you don't actually have to ride it out. But what I have for you are planning guides that will help you. I mentioned these in the beginning. It's a worksheet that you can download and a sort of grid that you can map those things out . You will see that the worksheet gives you a number of questions to answer. These are questions you won't necessarily have an answer for all of them. But answer the ones that you can. And what it's going to do is help you be thoughtful about what you want the seem to be. Don't feel like when you answer these. You have to go run and writes a death scene. But if you can answer some of those questions than as you right the rest of the story as you start the beginning and write your story, you will be able to write yourself into the death scene so that it is powerful. So the goal of the worksheet is toe. Have you think about what you want this seem to be and then help you plan? How am I going toe work into that scene? So I recommend downloading that. All right, that is everything. On having a heart wrenching death scene that I've got. I do hope it was helpful. Everyone, this was dismal. One to teach. But I hope it was helpful and I would appreciate it if it was. If you would leave a review as always. That's very helpful for me. I hope you are having a wonderful day. I wish you the very best of luck with your riding and I will see you soon. Bye.