Being kind is hurting my writing!

A few posts ago I wrote about how I loved torturing my characters in To Kill Your Darlings. This is still very much true, alas my poor characters haven’t found any relief from the capricious God like events that come flying out of my fingers.

tourture

I’ve just finished an edit on my very first fantasy novel. This manuscript has been sitting dormant for some time, waiting until I finish my romance trilogy. Because I’m trying to focus on completing the projects I started first. I know strange concept, right?

Anyway, here I am editing this manuscript that I haven’t looked at in at least three months. Okay, six months. It was sitting patiently waiting for me to work on it again, and when I read it I thought, “Wow. There isn’t any horrible stuff happening to you guys, is there?”

Sure, there’s plenty of bad things happening around them, their families were cursed centuries ago, and the characters are dealing with that fallout. But nothing ‘bad’ happens to them directly. Which is odd for me, because I’m horrible to my characters.

I can only imagine that my first foray into fantasy and in writing in the third person distracted me, but I doubt it. Then I came to the conclusion that I was putting off making bad things happen to these newly formed, fresh people because they trusted me to take care of them. I did. They struggled, sure. They fought and clawed their way through, the evil enemy is still lurking for books two and three, but for the three main characters, things turn out alright.

I held off on hurting them because they were new, whereas in my other series I knew how much my characters could take because they have been in my head a lot longer. Perhaps this is a lesson for me in character development, or just that I need to focus on this manuscript and this world for a period of time.

Either way, I’ve got to hurt them, and it’s stopping me from making this good book, great!

toy

How do you feel about this? Have you put something aside because you couldn’t hurt your characters, or did you stop working all together?

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11 thoughts on “Being kind is hurting my writing!

  1. I can relate. It’s hard to hurt, especially kill off characters. The prologue of my debut novel starts with a father discovering the remains of his murdered children. It’s the hardest scene I’ve ever had to write, and I still can’t read it most days. But I think we have to remember that we are trying to tell a story, a story which will not happen if the events don’t turn out the way they did (this also makes it easy to see if you just wrote a scene for effect, which is not good). We as writers have to be true to the story.

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  2. “Then I came to the conclusion that I was putting off making bad things happen to these newly formed, fresh people because they trusted me to take care of them.” Hmm. Well! Here’s a thought: When you make bad things happen to them, just tell them that you’re doing this to make them stronger, more relatable characters. Complete strangers will care about them and love them and weep over their untimely demises. Tell them you’re doing it for their own good!

    They may not believe it (especially if you’re the type to really hurt and/or maim your characters). They may put up a ruckus and point out their Do Not Harm clauses in their contracts. In that case, tell them to put on their aggressively styled boots and deal. 😆

    Liked by 1 person

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