Nice Writers Finish Last

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.

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2 Responses to Nice Writers Finish Last

  1. The Warden says:

    Perhaps the focus shouldn’t be how they’re suffering, but they overcome and persevere. THAT’s what enthralls.

  2. Fraser says:

    But in order to overcome and persevere, bad shit has to happen. I fail at creating really bad shit for characters to overcome and persevere through. That’s the torture I need to learn how to inflict.

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