Monday, February 14, 2011

Authors are Cruel Gods

We authors really are cruel gods in our fictional worlds, aren't we?

I just did something truly horrible to my heroine.  She's going have post-traumatic stress for a long time.  No, seriously, she will. I'm going to have to deal with the aftereffects into the sequels.

(Before I go any further, let me just say that there's nothing sexual involved. I don't do sex, good or bad, in my stories. There's enough of that elsewhere. Sexual tension, yes, but not the act itself. Just so we're clear.)

So why did I do that?  Because I could? Well, yeah. But also because the story needed it.  She needed it.  She needed to mature, as well as to fully realize the danger that the hero has been trying to protect her from all along.

There is a matter of building tension in a story, which eventually has to be brought to fruition.  I had been hinting all along about bad things that could happen and the characters and I had gone to great lengths to prevent those things, but I realized I needed to let a few of them actually occur.  For one thing, it brings in a lot of intense emotion.  For another, it raises their motivation to never, ever let anything like that happen again.

And, lastly, it makes her vulnerable.  I've done such a good job of shutting Faldur out of Marenya's life that I had to find a way of letting him back in.  Though I'm at the point again where I'm not exactly sure how this romantic triangle is going to work out.  I've always been somewhat ambivalent about the ending.  Who lives, who dies, and who gets the girl? I could easily go either way.

How do you feel about doing bad things to your characters?  Are you ever shocked by the vicarious deeds you commit?  

Oh, and Happy Valentine's Day! I am a firm believer in this holiday.  Even if you don't have anyone to cuddle today, go eat some CHOCOLATE!!!! 


  1. Oooh...I love romantic triangles. :)

    I never really do anyting "bad" to my characters, although I am shocked at what happens in their backstory. I can really give them "issues" that they need to work out. LOL

  2. Yes! Things happen to my characters that I had no intention of letting happen. But I love it when it does. It just makes the act of writing and creating so much more fun!

  3. My poor MC in my latest book is getting her fair share of bad stuff. But it's all in the name of love. Happy Ever AFter is what they always say.

    Happy Valentine's Day.

  4. No, I never feel bad. My way at getting back at the meanness that follows me. And never get in trouble with words on a page :)
    Happy Valentine's Day!
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

  5. Sometimes you just have to throw them under the bus, toss them to the wolves, let a piano fall on their head...okay, I've gone too far. You have to give them something to get over once in awhile.

  6. Triangles are hard. I admire you for writing one in.

  7. I'm all for being mean to characters when there's good reasoning behind it like you've shown here-- misery for the sake of misery is just melodrama. Tension, character growth, plot requirements, cause and effect, though, I can get behind some light character torture for those.
    - Sophia.

  8. Sometimes I feel cruel too, but it's all for their own good in the end! You're right, it's the way our characters mature.

  9. @Angela: I actually think triangles are easy, because they keep things interesting. Just having the back and forth between two people is harder for me.

    @Sophia: You are totally right about misery for misery's sake. Maybe that's why I don't like literary fiction that much. I want there to be some ultimate triumph or meaning in the struggle.

    @Jules: I never thought of it quite that way.

    @Jennifer: You're right, a lot of writers put the bad stuff into backstory. I have a tendency, however, to start with nice, well-adjusted people and mess them up as I go along.

    @Wendy - a piano might still work if they had magical powers. Or a force field.

    @Anne - You do seem talented at coming up with complicated situations!

    @Jessica - It amazes me sometimes the stuff I think of. I'm really a nice person ordinarily. I wonder where it comes from?

    @WritersBlockNZ: Sometimes I wonder if God feels the same way when he throws stuff at me?

  10. Am I ever shocked by the things I do to my characters? Not anymore, honey.

    Really, after the disembowelings, how much worse could things get? (Don't answer that.)


  11. It's all relative, ain't it Simon?

  12. I am a wimp I tend to cry when I do mean things to my characters. It doesn't stop me though.


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