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How to kill a character - With Green Grass information · 5:56am Jul 12th, 2020

Remember two years ago when KatysCornerTX at DeviantArt did a wonderful representation of Green Grass and his hat? And Clover? I have an announcement on that, which comes at a strange time (see the title, and after the break). Well, I’m working on Letters From a Little Princess Monster, and I realize a character I’ve used over a few years really needed to die. Really. It’s quite a coincidence, so I’ll pass along advice after the break.

Anyway, I'm making good progress on Letters From a Little Princess Monster, about on my third unpublished chapter. Feels good to open up the throttle and cut loose with writing for a change, much like taking a chainsaw out in the back yard and dealing with that fallen tree. Fizzy has been a joy to write, and I've got scads of stuff plotted out, so this is going to be a horribly long arc before we reach the end and Discord shows up for the Final Confrontation with Monster.

Oh, by the way, here’s a picture of Katie’s wonderful work in context, with book and whole Sparkle family. (Because she sent them to me, and I'm tickled positively pink)

(Take a good, long look at Green Grass. No reason. He’s not in danger. Honest.)

Now, onward. When killing a character, there are several things to keep in mind.

First, there should be a plot point involved. Seriously, nothing is worse in a story to just see a character killed for no reason, not even just to show how bad the Big Bad is. You’re not George RR Martin, so there should be meaning in the death, even if it’s a bad guy dying. Obi-Wan dies in Star Wars so his death can affect Luke’s actions in the future, or the victim dies in a murder mystery so that the whole story has a theme.

Second, there should be a setup. Readers react negatively to a character who they’ve followed along for several chapters just slipping on a banana peel mid-sentence and hitting his head, dead, unless you’ve set up the character’s fear of banana peels, used another character to sneak out of the house to get the Forbidden Fruit, etc…

Third, there should be a follow-through. Bob dies, everybody takes a moment to grieve, and you never mention Bob ever again leaves a hole in the reader’s expectations. Peter Parker’s uncle leaves a lasting legacy, Harry Potter’s mother leaves behind her protection over him, his father leaves a questionable legacy that he discovers as he grows up, and so on.

Fourth (and overall), the death of the character should affect the reader, positive or negative. They should dread/anticipate the setup, wince/cheer the death, and mourn/party after their passing. It can be used to show the actual danger of the situation, thus cranking up the tension, or as catharsis for whatever evils the corpse committed while alive, or even some angst-ridden agony over a character who did everything right in life and found himself in a terrible situation where death was the only possible result.

Which brings us to Green Grass, in Letters From a Little Princess Monster. What could possibly happen to such a mensch in a griffon aerie? I mean other than pretending that he’s the husband of a pregnant servant to protect her from an abusive griffon master, who eventually turns out to be drinking the blood from other servants in the aerie in order to turn into a Windigo… On second thought, I’ll just let you look at the scene up to *before* the death.

Tripartite - Part Seven

“Come out little ponies.” There was a faint rasping noise from outside of the servant’s room, much as if the griffon was running a knife down the edge of the doorframe. “I know who you are now, Lord Green Grass. Come out and meet your end like the Canterlot coward you are.”

Stargazer shivered against Green Grass’ side, shoving him in the direction of the balcony door with a clatter of hooves against the granite floor. He pushed back just as hard against the pregnant mare, holding his own and not much more. “Get a hold of yourself!” he hissed. “You’re not jumping off the balcony!”

“Can’t face Duke Plummets,” gasped Stargazer, looking even paler than her coal-black coat could cover. “He’ll rip out the foal and know it’s his child! He’ll kill you too!”

“He knows who I am,” said Green Grass just as firmly as he could manage. “I am my father’s son. The emperor himself is visiting the aerie, and he knows my father. I can talk sense into the murderous blowhard, but only if you keep it together!”

A long rasp of talons across the outside of the door sent an icy shiver up Green Grass’ back, giving the lie to his external expression of confidence. He had known Duke Plummets was a cold-hearted bastard when they had first met, although briefly.

It seemed like such a good idea at the time. Entering the griffon aerie as a researcher would have meant being treated by every inhabitant as an outsider, and a biased view of the griffon history would have resulted. Since griffons were not very bibliophilic, he was depending on interviews and conversations to flesh out his skeletal Master’s thesis, so he had a talk with the mayor of nearby Toenail, left his book-filled wagon in her back yard, and traveled to the aerie as just another servant for the griffons.

At first, posing as Stargazer's husband had provided a wealth of experiences for his thesis, and no end of griffons willing to talk about their history. However, in a matter of a few scant weeks the environment chilled in more ways than one. Servants who were supposed to be rotated back to their homes vanished, with no explanation. Several eggs in the hatchery turned up broken, their precious contents absent. Blame began to be spread, and a chill wind from a nearby wilderness area put everycreature’s nerves on edge.

Curiosity killed the cat, and quite nearly had killed the Green Grass during his dangerous investigation.

His stomach lurched with the thought, and bile threatened to creep up his throat and betray his inner tension. Substituting for Plummets’ missing servant, he had free access to the private rooms of the Wingmaster and his son, or at least until he had angered the younger griffon with his curiosity and been struck. The brief image he had seen of Milk Toast, trussed up and bled like a sacrifice, remained frozen in his mind with every griffon he had limped past for the last week while healing. He had suspected, doubted, evaded, and tried his best not to actually believe the terrible truth until that gruesome moment, and now the secret that he had kept to himself threatened to emerge along with the scant contents of his belly.

“Duke Plummets.” A quick swallow to rid himself of the worst bitterness creeping up his throat and Green Grass continued in his best Griffon, “<Do you swear by Cat Mother and Eagle Father, by the First Egg and by your ancestor’s bones, that you will leave Stargazer unharmed if I give myself to you, for whatever you plan?>”

A low, grim chuckle was his only response, the kind of guttural noise that made Green Grass’ skin feel paper-thin to the cold breezes of the mountain city. He knew at that moment that his fate was going to be the same as Milk Toast, tied up and bled to feed the hunger of the terrible monsters that the Wingmaster and his son were turning into.

It made him think of the small self-identified monster he had known for such a short time in Ponyville. How the world was such a terrifying place for her, but she was not afraid as long as she had her friends. Even Trixie had fallen under her spell, and to think of the blue braggart as anypony’s friend showed a small fraction of the true power of friendship. Green Grass had been running away from his parents’ attempts to marry him off for years, and Twilight Sparkle had gotten him married to Trixie in a matter of hours. She had even gotten Father to her side, and that was… epic.

If Twilight Sparkle could face her fears and put her life on the line to protect her friends, so could he.

“<I’m coming out>,” announced Green Grass. “<We shall take up this dispute in front of the Emperor, and he shall judge your actions and mine.>”

It would have been foolish to delay, since the door to the servant’s quarters was thin enough to be broken down by a single blow of the hefty griffon’s claws. He lifted the latch and swung the door wide before stepping forward, almost into Duke Plummets’ feathered chest.

Green Grass looked up.

The dark griffon looked down, with a hint of a cruel smile around the edges of his beak. The serrated knife held in his claws did nothing to help Green Grass’ momentary burst of false confidence.

“<Your guest, the Emperor, will want to see me>,” said Green Grass carefully in the formal chirps and squeaks of his best formal Griffon.

Duke Plummets shook his head, making his feathered crest slowly wave. “First, I’m going to cut the abomination out of that worthless bitch,” he growled with a blast of fetid breath. “I’m going to drink her blood and eat her liver while you watch. Then it shall be your turn.”

“B-but the Emperor?” managed Green Grass.

Plummets’ smile grew larger, and Green Grass could see jagged teeth like broken icicles inside his beak, and a glittering blue glow to his eyes. “The Emperor has eaten and drank the flesh and blood of the kine. He is ours,” he breathed, taking a step forward and shoving Green Grass ahead of him. “All of the griffons of the vale are gathered to hear my father, and when we have gathered all the remaining weaklings, we shall feast.” The big griffon ducked to get under the low doorframe, gloating, “ Once more we shall rise into the skies above all lesser beings. And nothing will stop—”

Comments ( 26 )

(Nothing bad could happen because of this, right?)

I hope Trixie goes on a rampage of revenge with the duke dying as a result, hopefully being executed by Equestria or we could give him to my Bionicle OC who'll give the Reason You Suck Speech before having fun with him, I'll write that what if scene later on.

The time space continuum woulnd't be save anymore if a little purple filly got the news :pinkiecrazy:

This is incredibly good news (not the part where Green Grass and company are all in mortal danger, the other part I'll talk about next).

I am a huge fan of many of the "In process" stories on FimFiction. But, I want a happy ending for Monster more than any other protagonist I can think of (depending on the day, Rarity and Twilight in Mono's Enchanted series come close).

Based on your post, it looks like the end is not near, but it is finite!

I've got scads of stuff plotted out, so this is going to be a horribly long arc before we reach the end and Discord shows up for the Final Confrontation with Monster.

I am glad you are having a good time writing. Thank you for all your work. I appreciate everything you share with us.

My suspicion is that it's not Green Grass and Stargazer that die, but that Duke Plummets meets a Fizzy death. There's no way you would be so cruel as to kill off Green Grass.


Suspicion, yes... guarantee, no. This is Georg we are talking about and tormenting his readers and characters is, I suspect, a guilty pastime. The fact that Georg has previously promised us that this Stargazer will have a better story than an alternate Stargazer is a hope to hold on to... but we all know that characters and stories often take on a life of their own at times and the author can end up going places they did not plan originally.

Still, to kill off the lazy, snarky, green goofball would be quite a step and would require some serious payoff to justify to the readers as Georg specifically mentioned in his blog.

or even some angst-ridden agony over a character who did everything right in life and found himself in a terrible situation where death was the only possible result.

See the above as evidence of torment of possibly both readers and character... sound like it could be very applicable to some green pony we may have been discussing? (I would normally put a Trollestia here but while this is mainly all written tongue-in-cheek, there is enough concern raised by the the story snippet that a normal humour tag would seem misplaced and a little tasteless)

Third, there should be a follow-through. Bob dies, everybody takes a moment to grieve, and you never mention Bob ever again leaves a hole in the reader’s expectations. Peter Parker’s uncle leaves a lasting legacy, Harry Potter’s mother leaves behind her protection over him, his father leaves a questionable legacy that he discovers as he grows up, and so on.

It's amazing how many writers manage to drop the ball on this point.

I'd be worried if it weren't for that interrupted "nothing will stop us." That practically guarantees something will come in to stop them.

To say that Trixie would be bummed is an understatement.

Hell hath no fury like a mare who suddenly isn't going to get any.

I see where you’re going... the Duke is interrupted at the end by the sudden temporal arrival of the alternate Twilight from the “Substitute Librarian” stories. Poor Greenie never has a chance.

Regardless of what you’re teasing, you have me hooked.

This the sort of KFC Bucket that could do with a Skin Shield.

Pity such shields are far stronger and easier to cast when theyre totally immobile.

I prefer teh description that what you are, is how you are, not who you are.

This, thing, if not being driven by possesion etc, has declared themselves persona non grata for the populance. So they have no reason to complain when treated as such.:pinkiesad2:

5306730 Well depending on who dies there is nothing like the fury of fans when an author kills a beloved character

regardless of what MAY be, this bit of reading put a chill in my spine.

... Well I know vengeance begets vengeance but ya know what I say? Blood for the Blood God. Skulls, for the skull throne. Just uh... Lemme get my axe.

I fell off my seat reading the latter half of this... I certainly look forward to sitting on the edge of it again.

No, I don't believe you

Well, since it cuts off mid-sentence, that leaves us with two options. One, the duke continues unmolested and murders greengrass, or he gets interupted by his own death; maybe he gets pinned to a wall by an arrow to the head, or blown up by a cannon ball.

Not-quite-Triptych Twilight with the metaphorical gloves off? I think I'd take my chances with the griffons.

Or, you know, Georg set it up that way to fake us out (much like how Naughty Dog faked out fans with false trailers featuring Joel only to see the same scenes in game featuring wildly different people).

5307156 5306764 Would I do that? I assure you, this is snipped right out of the chapter.
5306827 I'm safe. Nobody knows where I live. Except the people I've mailed bookplates to... uh-oh.
5306802 5306797 5306757 There is no Deus ex Twilight, no convenient arrival of an external character, and both Monster and Tempest are still on the Royal Guard chariot en route. It's just ice birb and Twilight's teacher. And an enormous amount of terror.

Alternatively, how Infinity War trailers included a shot of Hulk at the Battle of Wakanda, even though it never happened in that film or Endgame.

George you have turned to the side of evil.

5307669 Naa, if I were evil, I'd put it on hiatus. (buhahahaha)
5307406 In their defense, the trailers are almost always put together first, and the whole Marvel CU had an absolutely ungodly amount of cross-relating and Easter eggs, so...

Comment posted by Tomi deleted Jul 15th, 2020


Naa, if I were evil, I'd put it on hiatus. (buhahahaha)

You kinda already earned that badge after Dominoes :ajbemused:

5340045 Look, just because (checks) Oh, two years. Well, I was busy writing other stuff too.

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