Death is one of the axioms of existence. However, in fiction, death can be reversible. The most prominent example in modern television is Dragonball where the titular orbs reverse deaths of the main cast. Or in a superhero film, death of the superhero is often implied, but then the hero survives and you wonder what the point of the false tension was when the title of the film is the superhero’s name.
In the Successor of Ramiel, I wanted death to be impactful. It should be. I’ve recently experienced a loss and it is disturbing, it messes with your head. But, death does not have to be the end in ficition. Working with Angels leant itself to the concept of ghosts. After all, Angels are associated with Heaven, which is the afterlife – (SORScene – Angels and Ghosts at Midnight.)
Ghosts are weird conceptually. They phase through walls. So they’re not solid objects? Are they a form of light? But walls reflect light? They’re sentient. Ok? But how they are thinking without any neurones?
Now, the obvious answer is that ghosts aren’t real, but that’s no fun for a fantasy writer. I fancied a challenge. I had a go coming up with a framework to explain ghosts in my stories. I’m sure I’ve made any self-respecting physicist or anyone who adheres to the scientific philosophy enter a glorious nerd rage.
I made ghosts quantum abstractions. I made souls a quantum entity that doesn’t belong in this plain of reality outside an organic body that stabilises it. Normally, when a character dies, their ghost will cross over to the afterlife, pushed out as a result of our universe’s law of physics. Ghosts are an aberration, hence why they create anomalies. Because they are so small in the grand scale of the universe, they do no damage. Sure they make the air thicker and create a bad smell, but they aren’t going to break space-time, just localised interference to those who can detect them. Sound fantastical? Well, I have a lot of fun with this idea in Successor of Ramiel Volume 2. Believe me, I’ve not even started yet.
Can ghosts stop the transfer to the next world? Well, yes. Thought and emotion are the results of biochemical and electrical interactions in your brain. Stories in the past involving ghosts usually allow them to cross over once they are ready to move on (either obtaining justice or confess emotion.) So, taking this idea forward, the desire to settle one’s affairs after death changes the nature of the quantum entity that defines the ghost, weakening the pull the next world has. Until the ghost’s reason to stay on Earth has been settled, they will resist the pull of the next world.
That’s all well and good for a solution to a fictional problem in a fantasy novel. What does it all mean for the narrative? Ghosts stay on Earth until the time comes when they can move on. In terms of death, well it has consequence. Being a ghost is different from being alive with a body, the change is going to be hard, a shock to the system. They will not be the same after death. And once they have no reason to stay on this plain, they’re gone! For good!
Character arcs don’t finish after death, but rather are extended, morphed into something else. The nature of their existence has changed irreversibly. If you’ve been following my Successor of Ramiel scenes, you’ve probably guessed which character this blog post will be referring to …
These are my rules for death. With this framework, I hope I’ve managed to achieve a balance when it comes to handling death. Becoming a ghost allows a character to be have a post-death character arc, but death itself has an impact and is meaningful. Time will tell if this idea worked well or not in future volume and novel releases.
Interested? Want more? Here’s a link to the previous content earlier in the story available: SORScene – Zera’s Request and SORScene – Seraph trains Hani. More available at http://www.oliverkerrigan.com.
Thank you for reading. Like what you’ve seen? Then please do like, comment and follow the website or my social media platforms. After all, an author is nothing without any readers.
- Facebook: @OKerrigan17
- Twitter: @OliverKerrigan
- Google+: Oliver Kerrigan
© Oliver Kerrigan 2017