Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Part of character writing is to make a character who you love and you want to spend a lot of time with, and then torture that character mercilessly until they get the strength to break free and save themselves. It is part of what makes for good reading.
Without torturing your character to their breaking point it would be a pretty bad novel.
Imagine a novel where the main character was a high school girl who moved to a town of 3,000 and went to the local school of 4,000 students, on her first day became part of one of the most popular cliques in the school, and in her first week she’s giving her rejects to the other girls and her only problem is having to decide between bestiality and necrophilia.
Okay that was a bad example. But unless you can hit a cord with an audience that no one knew existed a novel should show the character’s depth, not just what the character wants and desires, but what they hate and fear as well.
I’ve been bogged down with a chapter in my latest book because I hit a spot where I needed to torture the female character mercilessly. She’s a Bipolar/Schizophrenic and she did the thing she fears most in the world, she took her mood stabilizers.
While writing that 5,000-word chapter I managed to do a 30,000-word revision on my other novel, write two short stories, and get a lot of work done around the house. Luckily I am now done with that chapter and my girl can go back to being her fun crazy self. It would have taken longer if I wasn’t forced into my office by 100-degree weather.
As I wrote it I had to keep reminding myself that I needed to torture her to show the conflict within her and the conflict that my hero has as he has to tolerate all her craziness.
I was wondering how other writers deal with making a character that they fall in love with and then have to torture them mercilessly. For me this was one of the hardest chapters I ever wrote.
By Darrell B. Nelson author of Invasive Thoughts