Sunday, May 5, 2013

Why do writers terroize their characters?

           Really, is it a good thing? To raise up  a character like he's your own kin and then, let major havoc loose in his life? And the only thing you do is think up ways to make his life even worse. It can't be healthy psychologically. Can it?

           But who cares about psychology, this is writing. This is stories. And-
                                                              Story is conflict.   

           Something must be at odds with something else. Whether it's your protagonist against outside forces (like another person/s or the elements) or your protagonist pitted against his inner self. Stories with both kinds of conflict? The best! 
           If everything is all fine and dandy- well, who wants to read about that? Readers will complain that nothing is happening in the book. Not saying that there can't be "perfect" moments in your story. A good writer will set up that scene where everything is bliss, and then take the protagonist spiraling down back to earth where we all have troubles.
           Yes, bad things happen to everyone. It's a realistic thing. So if you want to have a realistic story, then bad things must happen to your characters. Sorry to you characters out there.
           If your character's supposed to be heroic, a hero can't go without a few troubles  triumph, or else he doesn't seem very heroic, right? If he's supposed to be virtuous, his virtue must be tested.
           Now it is a strange thing, but things that are good to have and days that are good to spend are soon told about, and not much listened to; while things that are uncomfortable, palpitating, and even gruesome, may make a good tale, and take a deal of telling anyway.

                                                                                         - The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien 
            So it's okay. Maybe we are a little weird. By other people's standards. But it's a necessary part of writing. So feel bad, yes. To stay human. But story trumps all. So tell Carlleta Lynn O'Casey that her troubles are all for the greater good of the story.


  1. I think the reader wants the character to go through a certain amount of torture. They complain about it, but in the end I think they relate to it. Not that the reader will ever fight dragons, evil knights, or get sucked into a fairey realm, but they still find things to relate to.

    1. Yes! It's more real and relatable. Who can relate to someone when everything that happens to him is perfect? Besides fairey world or not, there are relatable things in fiction (and fantasy or futuristic genres). Perhaps I'll post on it sometime.


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