Make Them Suffer!

After a crazy busy week of day jobs and edits for The Other Me (which are done and it’s awesome and much SQUEE!) today was set aside for writing. Last night I remapped character arcs, refined Goal-Motivation-Conflict and was amped for a full day of epic keyboard smacking. Of course, the universe had other plans…

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. I am a miserable sick person so you can imagine how impressed I was when I woke up this morning with a sore throat and sore face courtesy of my sinuses. Ailments aside, I dragged myself out of bed, dosed myself on caffeine and sat at the computer. I was ready to write this big climactic scene I’ve been avoiding all week, but my nose was too blocked and my eyes were too puffy.

Feeling miserable, I scrolled back through my chapters and came to the startling realisation that my characters have had it far too easy. Considering how miserable I’m feeling with a stuffy head and scratchy throat, there’s no way my characters get unicorns and rainbows until the very last chapter – and even then, maybe not. So, I decided to make them suffer.

emo sufferNo. Not the emo kind of suffering where a bruised heart might mean a less than perfect day. I mean full on, bloody, scar-leaving, eviscerating agony.

Like this:



and this:



and lots of this…



Yup, because today I don’t feel well and I’m taking it out on my characters. While this has resulted in a rather dark and bloody turn of events, it has also shown me a few things I wasn’t previously aware of:

1) I become a raging sadist when I have a cold

2) Scars are sexier than tattoos, and might result in some super steamy scenes if I ever allow my MC to touch her love interest (insert evil laughter)

3) My characters are stronger than they seem. Really, they’ve surprised me. After putting them through a wood-chipper – almost literally – they’re still going, still striving toward their goals despite insurmountable difficulties and they even manage to find a silver lining two.

While this may be too much for a YA novel (all the gifs above, incidentally, come from The Vampire Diaries – a YA novel turned TV series), I’m letting this first draft be a blood-drenched pain-fest. It’s cathartic and has actually helped me feel better. While I might dial down the violence in revisions, I’m going to leave the struggle as amplified as it is because not only can my characters handle it, but they’re going to be that much stronger by the end of it, and it’ll make for a much better book as well.

Are you a sadistic author? Do you enjoy torturing your characters?

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