One of my major failings as a writer is that I don’t want to torture my characters. A great way to keep a reader invested in long-form fiction – be it a novel, a series, or a novella – is to have horrible things happen to characters to which the reader has grown attached. The worse it is for the character, the better for your readers.
I hate doing that. I hate it when horrible things happen to people at all. When they are characters I have created, characters that I also love, that I have built, I just have a really hard time doing nasty things to them. In short fiction, I can usually throw enough curves to make it through without doing really shitty things to them. In long-form fiction, I tend to create reversals, but nothing too major. Nothing really horrific.
I need to work on that. I need to become a real bastard.
Just like life.