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Monday, October 10, 2016

Writing About: Reapers


In one of my works-in-progress, I have a reaper as a character aka a grim reaper. This character is creepy and indestructible. Death follows in his wake. His targets don’t stand a chance.

If you ever find you need to add a reaper to a supernatural story, here are a few things to consider:

1. Appearance

Image from Pixabay

Reapers usually wear long, black cloaks with hoods to cover their skeletal bodies. They can be wrapped in shadows. Their faces can be darkness or a skull. And they generally have a sickle, but you could always do a twist on his weapon of choice as well as his appearance. Make this reaper your own! Make him (or her) not even appear like a reaper at first.




2. Darkness

Wherever reapers go, gloom dominates. You can describe clouds rolling in to hide the sun, the lights going out in a room or house, and darkness clinging to the reaper like a black fog swarming around his feet.

3. Cold

Death is cold. Dropping the temperature whenever a reaper is around is a good idea. Icy breath can float from your characters’ mouths, and they can break out in gooseflesh. Frost can cover the ground, and windows can fog up. Stretch your imagination.

4. Death

Image from Pixabay

A reaper’s job is to kill and take souls. Have the reaper target people. Then show how he kills them, collects their souls, and then reveal what he does afterward with the souls.




5. Victims

Who does the reaper target and why? Let us get know some of them, especially if one is your main character. We need to feel connected to your characters so we can worry about their safety and root for them whenever the reaper gets close. And we also need to be invested in case they are hurt or killed.


Reapers aren’t just for Halloween. You could write any kind of story with reapers, during any time of the year and for any holiday, even Christmas. Think about it.



QUESTION: If a reaper (aka Death) had a human name, what do you think it’d be? (Pretend this is for a story.)



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50 comments:

  1. Haha! Love the bunny slippers!!! I wish I could share how closely that image represents one of the characters in bk II of my mg series. Too funny! I think there's a lot more diversity within the characteristics of reapers then sometimes people think. We're fictional writers. We can do anything with them. Anything. *spooky laughter & a snorting chuckle*

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    1. Exactly. Although I stuck with the "traditional" reaper for this post, a reaper could look like a bubbly sixteen-year-old girl. ;)

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  2. Supernatural sure has mixed reapers up. I've used Death a few times, characters had to cheat to get rid of him.

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    1. With reapers, I think the only way you can "kill" them is by cheating.

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  3. I would name Death, Percy. I mean we could make him look ghoulish but when the people he is bringing over find out his name, they begin to snicker and Death gets all upset. I loved the film Death Takes a Holiday. the Twilight Zone episode where Robert Redord played Death and the TV show called Dead Like Me.

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    1. Glad to see you here considering the hurricane. Hope all. Went well

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    2. Thanks, Birgit! I am safe and sound. :)

      Percy would actually be a great name for the reaper in my WIP.

      Delete
  4. I love all the different cultural myths and legends about how souls cross over and are collected. It's something that resonates across so many different cultures and eras. My thousandth silent, which I saw last New Year's Eve, is based around the premise of the Grim Reaper's carriage having to be driven by the last person who dies every year.

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    Replies
    1. With all of the different myths about reapers, a writer could have an endless supply of inspiration and craft a very different reaper.

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  5. Reapers come in all forms. Nice list Chrys and while I don't write about reapers. I do have an unfinished manuscript with revenge angels who help victims in a sense reap the soul of the person who wronged them.

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    1. They sure do.

      Revenge angels sounds intriguing.

      Delete
  6. Bob. No one would ever suspect a Bob.
    And if you'd like to have humor, victims can always challenge Death to a game like they did in Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey.

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    1. I was waiting for someone to offer Bob as a name. ;)

      Humor is always fun when it comes to Death.

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  7. Did you ever watch the TV show Dead Like Me? It was about a group of reapers. Very funny. I highly recommend it. The characters on that show kept popping into my head while reading your post. So now the only names I can think of are their names: George, Daisy, Rube, Roxy, and Mason.

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    1. I never saw that show, but it sounds like something I'd like. :)

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  8. Poking fun at Death with bunny slippers. Perfect Halloween month image. I kind of prefer it to the second one.

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  9. When my son was a senior in high school, he was chosen to portray the Grim Reaper next to a wrecked car. The display was meant as a warning to not drink and drive to the prom. So if you want to know what the Reaper really looks like, I'll try to find a photo of my son for you. He was quite the effective Reaper.

    Love,
    Janie

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    Replies
    1. The wrecked car reminds me of a scene in my WIP.

      So you actually know the Grim Reaper? :O LOL

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    2. I live with the Grim Reaper. He's very tall and has lots of tats. He's so tenderhearted, though, that if he went to collect the souls of the dead, he wouldn't be able to do it. He's say, Oh, it's okay. I didn't mean it. Stay alive as long as you want and I'll take care of you.

      He's a lover, not a fighter.

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    3. Now that's a sweet Grim Reaper. Someone needs to write a story about a reaper like that!

      Delete
  10. I always think of the reapers looking like regular people aka Supernatural.

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    1. In my WIP, my reaper looks like a regular person...at first. Then he becomes the creepy version we'd all expect. ;)

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  11. This reminds me of the time hubby was playing a game where the character was death and I wanted to know why Death was always metal/goth/emo. I so want to write a story where Death is a surfer dude with blond hair.

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    1. And he can lure his victims to him with his good looks. ;)

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  12. I chuckled at Patricia's comment...as a surfer dude? Just imagine!

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  13. Ooh, is it weird that I find the idea of writing about a reaper fun? Hmm, a name. Something French I think. Or Latin. Le Marquis de Mort Noir...

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    Replies
    1. Not weird at all...because I find it fun, too. ;)

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  14. Hi Chrys ... Grim Reapers ... not good to have around - unless by chance they decide the time isn't right ... there will be some good entrie: which I'll enjoy - cheers Hilary

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    1. Not good to have a Grim reaper around at all.

      Delete
  15. Love the Reaper with bunny slippers!! I never thought of a reaper in a funny context like that before. Cute. :D

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    1. Anything evil can be given a funny context if we try really hard. ;)

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  16. Coming up empty on the Reaper's name, so I'll have to go with the Narayan default name for everything: Bob. In fact, it would be fun to make up an anti-reaper who dresses in snazzy colors, looses his smart phone, and accidentally reaps the wrong people.

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    1. Two votes for Bob. lol

      That would be funny...the perfect disguise.

      Delete
  17. I can't think of a name, but if my story had a reaper, he/she would have to be sort of nice. Like, they don't really enjoy the job, but they have no choice. Add some comedy, like the clothes as in the above and their attitude maybe.

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    1. For me, I like the evil side when I'm writing about a reaper, but I would totally enjoy reading a story about a reluctant, nice reaper.

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  18. Her name would be Serenity. I don't really see death as a nasty end but an enlightened beginning. :-)

    Anna from elements of emaginette

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  19. Damien. :) This is certainly a timely post. I'm feeling the Halloween vibes!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Someone on my Facebook page also said Damien, though I think it was spelled differently.

      Delete
  20. Sorry for being late with comment.
    A great post about a not so great reaper.
    Yvonne.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I love reapers and I think Vilnius would be a great name. :-)
    sherry @ fundinmental

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    Replies
    1. You're really good with names, Sherry!

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  22. I love the picture of the cute one. A reaper in bunny slippers? Who'd have thought?

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  23. After Terry Pratchett's Death, the character who rides a horse named Binky, I wouldn't dream of writing about a reaper. And then there was that TV show...

    But as for a name... That's a good question. I think I'd go with something mundane, like Bob.

    ReplyDelete

Please tell me what you think. I love to chat! :)

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