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To Warn or Not to Warn

I've seen this discussion pop up elsewhere, but I'd like to know y'alls thoughts on this as well.

Character death; warning required?

Seems to have sparked quite a discussion.

I'm on the side of not warning. Especially if it spoils the whole fic. Any suspension or buildup is lost by warning for it. Take for example a certain Stargate Atlantis episode. Totally killed the episode for me since nobody in fandom could shut up about it. I really would have preferred not to know.

So what are your thoughts?

Comments

( 13 notes left — Leave a note )
kikos_ai
Apr. 18th, 2008 04:27 pm (UTC)
Hmm...

On the one hand I completely understand the desire not to warn, especially if the death(s) are the climax of the story. But on the other hand there are some people on my f-list who are completely against death fics--won't read them, avoids them like the plague and Paris Hilton.

Once upon a time, I had a major plot bunny for a story with Tommy/Jason and the SPD crew..which would have resulted in a character death. I talked about this story at some length with arrow when I met him last summer. I think one of the main reason I chose not to write this story was exactly this problem. If I warned people, I'd ruin the story. If I didn't and killed off a popular character (well actually it was worse than that, it was one person died in the fic but everyone else was gonna die later anyways) then there would be a lot of flack. I think its especially hard to kill of a Power Ranger because until SPD, no Ranger ever stayed dead for good. Its like going against canon really if you kill a Ranger off. I really didn't want to deal with that, on top of the fact that people I love really hate death fics, so in the end I chickened out.

I'm kinda glad I did because it was a very depressing story that I came up with almost two years ago, when I was a lot more depressed than I am now. But I think with this debate its really up to the author, I dont think policy should dictate this at all.
lttledvl_writes
Apr. 18th, 2008 10:44 pm (UTC)
It is kind of a grey area. Character death isn't in the same category as explict sex scenes, violence or harsh language. All of which I feel should be warned for.

Not so much becuase I'm sparing people their dislikes, but rather to ensure that I'm covering my own butt. call me selfish There are younger kids out there reading fanfic. And the last thing I want or need is some uptight Mom trying to slap me for 'exposing' her kid to adult material.

With a warning and a rating, I can always point back to them and say, 'Hey, your kid obviously had to see that and chose to ignore them. Bitch to your kid, not me.'

Character death is more of a personal like or dislike. Unless it's violent or graphic, I don't think it should have to be warned for. Of course, I like my deaths to have meaning. Pointless killing of a character particularly by fanbrats who hate a character I'd probably complain about. But if it served a purpose or was integral to the story, the ultimate sacrifice for example, I'd read it and prefer not to be warned.
dragovianknight
Apr. 18th, 2008 05:20 pm (UTC)
Honestly, that's the first time I've ever seen so many people posting on "my" side of the warning debate. Personally, I would prefer not to warn or be warned for anything, but I've quite had "warn for rape/non-con, dub-con, and character death at minimum" drummed into me by this point. (I still find most warnings quite silly.)
lttledvl_writes
Apr. 18th, 2008 10:49 pm (UTC)
I agree to a certain extent. As above, I warn for those things more to avoid hassles if some kid stumbles into a fic they shouldn't. Or if they read it on purpose and Mom finds out. Yah, I'd rather not have some parent trying to sue me.

Honestly, I do bare minimum for warnings anyway. I don't get long and drawn-out with them. Usually it's just along the lines of stating harsh language, character death, etc. I don't even warn for sex scenes, I let the rating part take care of that. If it says NC-17, that's what it means. Explict sex scenes are rather implied.
starandrea
Apr. 18th, 2008 09:05 pm (UTC)
Warn. If you want an off-the-cuff opinion as I wander by ::smile:: (Some love in passing, too! ::love:: Haven't talked to or about you in a while, was just thinking about you yesterday, hope all is well ♥)

When it comes to fanfic, there's a lot of it out there, and I prefer not to spend lots of time reading things I don't like: rape, pillaging, murder, that sort of thing :) Major character death included. The few people I know do it well I will totally read (which, frankly, goes for everything except torture, which I thought I would read if it was handled well but then NALAN-fucking-ZU wrote it well and totally creeped me out, and I have never, ever stopped giving her credit for being the creepiest writer I know ::grin:: She RULES.)

...uh, I was saying ::frowns:: Oh, the few people I know do it well can kill characters if they must ::waves hand:: I give my permission ^_^ But I still want them to warn me.

(Obviously I'm not saying everyone should warn about these things to conform to my personal desires ::grin:: I'm just saying, my personal preference is that I'd like to know these things in advance.)

Happy Friday!
lttledvl_writes
Apr. 18th, 2008 10:59 pm (UTC)
If you want an off-the-cuff opinion as I wander by

Why on earth would I want one of those? Lol.

At this point, I'm not sure if there isn't anything I won't read. *g* I have odd tastes sometimes. Mpreg however, is something I can't really get into. My logical brain refuses to push the button of disbelief on that.

I'll admit, it does take me some time to warm up to certain things with particular characters/fandoms. Explicit Ranger sex didn't used to be something I was into. Now I write it. Hee. Buttsex in Stargate used to make all ewwwwy, but now I skim it and shrug. Just another day in Atlantis. Lol.

The one thing I won't read, and it's not a specific story device, but a fandom, is RPF. I don't care if it's squeaky clean, Disney approved for kiddies of all ages. I want to read about characters I love, not the actors. If I want to read about the affairs of actors, I'll grab a copy of the Inquirer. *snerk*

Some love in passing, too! ::love:: Haven't talked to or about you in a while, was just thinking about you yesterday, hope all is well.

Awww. *hugs* Thank you. It's been a rough week, but things seem better now. And although the weekend will be much tso short, it is still a welcome respite.
windchaserc
Apr. 19th, 2008 12:42 am (UTC)
I personally don't like to be warned of character death. If the death is incorporated skillfully (as versus a pointless death fic), I consider it a spoiler to be forewarned. Since people rarely keel over without cause, maybe a warning for the cause of the death will suffice? Violence or serious illness, for example. Then the reader knows there's a possibility of death, at least.

Or (someone mentioned this in the linked entry) warn that there is *a* death, but don't say who it is.
lttledvl_writes
Apr. 19th, 2008 02:05 am (UTC)
I consider it a spoiler to be forewarned

Me too. Especially if it is done well, just as you said. Pointless death fics are just annoying.

I dunno about the cause. I suppose one could put 'illness: possible death'? That way you wouldn't be giving away too much.

Or warn that there is *a* death, but don't say who it is.

I agree. I wouldn't want to know who it is. And I certainly don't list who's getting the ax when I kill someone off. Not that I've done that often. just twice to the same poor guy *snerk*
angel_negra
Apr. 19th, 2008 05:10 am (UTC)
My thoughts?
Since I'm both wordy and in the minority, here's my thoughts linked so you can ignore them:
http://angel-negra.insanejournal.com/7448.html
lttledvl_writes
Apr. 19th, 2008 06:11 pm (UTC)
Re: My thoughts?
I wouldn't ignore you. *hugs*

Very interesting thoughts though. I can totally see the sense in a lot of that.
angel_negra
Apr. 20th, 2008 04:41 am (UTC)
Re: My thoughts?
Apologies to late-comers, but the post is now locked.
shoujokakumei
Apr. 19th, 2008 05:39 pm (UTC)
I hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate character death fics. It's up there with rape, RPS, and mpreg on the list of stuff that will turn me off from reading something instantly. So.. Yeah, I get a little pissy when there's not a warning on a deathfic. I don't care if the warning says WHO dies - that'd be a spoiler for the fic, so I can see not wanting to put that in, but a "character death" note is appreciated. (If you're killing an OC you created, maybe not, but an established character for sure - especially in something like PR where, largely, Nobody Dies.)

It also helps in our fandom because we have so many authors who are obsessed with killing someone in every damn story they write - but those folks I just know to avoid after a while.
lttledvl_writes
Apr. 19th, 2008 06:18 pm (UTC)
RPS is the big thing I refuse to read. I'm not terribly keen on mpreg either, but if I had to choose between John Sheppard and Rodney McKay's ass baby vs. Joe and David's ass baby, I'll take the former. But honestly, I probably wouldn't read that anyway.

Putting a warning for character death is a nicety, the details of the death or even who doesn't have to be said. That gets into spoiler terriority.

many authors who are obsessed with killing someone in every damn story they write

I hate those. Fics that are little more than character bashing. Seriously, if you don't like a character that much, then don't write about them. It seems simple to me. So far, I haven't encountered a character I 'hated'. There are some that I don't care for, but that's where I prefer to avoid including them.

Better yet, try writing that character into someone who can become likeable. Or get into their head and explain why they're such a dickwad. Much better than random 'Omg, I hate so-and-so and thereof they must die just because I can'.
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