Sunday, September 20, 2009

Ok, I get it...

I know; I'm a softy. I understand now.

I'm waaaaay too nice to my characters. Though I've heard it often, that we really need to make situations look hopeless for our characters from time to time, I hadn't connected that I wasn't doing that.

Take our favorite boy wizard, for example. How often, during your reads, did you wonder if this poor kid could EVER catch a break? Now be honest, didn't that keep you reading? You wanted to know if he ever got his happy ending--ever. I mean, he struggled to find a happy memory when one solitary happy memory would save his life.

Don't get me wrong--bad things do happen to my characters. They face initial conflict, they struggle and they do have to grow or overcome in some other way. But I dole out hopeless situations very sparingly. Fortunately, I think, The Peasant Queen gets herself into lots of hopeless situations.

I wonder why we, as people, are generally interested in the tragic. Literary heroes throughout history face trial after terrifying trial to reach their goal. And it keeps us reading. If we read a book that sounds too much like real life how interesting can it be? If you can look at a character and say, "Yeah, that's just like my day" why on earth would we want to read that? Now, if it starts out like your day but then moves in a completely different direction that might be all right. I know I don't read books to read about someone like me. I want to read about someone better than me.

Enough is enough. No more MS Nice Author. Let's do some damage.


Rachelle Christensen said...

How's that damage going? It's hard to mean to our characters, but you're right it makes it so much more better when they overcome their challenges.

Cheri Chesley said...

I'm more satisfied with a story when the characters grow. And the damage is coming along :)