I saw an article you had about “bury your gays.” At first I thought that my story was exempt from that because multiple characters of different orientations die, but then I read the examples you gave and started doubting myself. You said “a big factor in this trope is the image of a queer (most often lesbian) character dying tragically in her partner’s arms, with a death that didn’t really accomplish anything.” I do have the character dying in her girlfriend’s arms, but her death does mean something. She kills a major villain as the villain kills her, saving her girlfriend and consequently dying.

You also mentioned having “other queer characters around, particularly queer characters of the same orientation as the dead character.” I do have another lesbian couple who are fairly prominent in the story, but given that you said lesbians are usually the ones who fall prey to this trope, is this sufficient?

And again, the kicker – the character comes back to life. The next book is focused on her girlfriend taking an epic quest to bring her back, which she succeeds in. They do get a happily-ever-after.

Should I change any elements of this character’s death? Does it fall prey to “bury your gays” stereotypes?



Hi Sophie,

Great question.

Unfortunately, simply making it parallel with a straight couple isn’t enough, just because straight readers have many more romances with happy endings to turn to, whereas queer readers don’t. It does help that you have another lesbian couple and that the death is a glorified one, but it could still upset readers.

However, in your case the death isn’t a permanent end to the relationship like death usually is, it’s just a setback for the purpose of creating a more epic, romantic storyline. So as far as the whole story goes, you’re not actually burying a gay character. (In some stories with circumstances like this, such as Star Trek: Discovery, I would still call it burying because the writers clearly did not intend to bring the gay character back when they killed him.)

Your biggest problem is that your readers probably won’t know this when it happens. It’s no good if they rage quit before they realize that this death isn’t the end. So my advice in this situation is to reveal the quest to bring her back right after the death. It would make a great hook for the next book, too.

If you want to be extra careful, you can also insert some heavy foreshadowing that it’s possible to bring people back to life before this character dies. This will mean that when readers find that she’s dying, it won’t have as much impact because they’ll know she’ll probably come back. In this case, that might be a good thing. It will people from getting upset, quitting, and never seeing what happens after.

Happy writing!


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