No Pain, No Gain: Are You Making Your Characters Suffer?

6 thoughts on “No Pain, No Gain: Are You Making Your Characters Suffer?”

  1. wendell fleming says:

    Amen Helen! Couldn’t agree more. Especially like this: “[D]o something nice for your characters—inflict some misery on them. One day, they’ll thank you for it.” And so will your readers:)

    1. Helen Pyne says:

      Thank you, Wendell, for being a great reader and a great friend!

  2. Lyn Miller-Lachmann says:

    I wrote about this topic from another perspective on my blog today, including “drive your character up a tree… and then throw rocks at her.” Mine, though, is on the deus ex machina and how it’s so tempting to use when you’ve inflicted so much high stakes pain on your character that there’s no logical way out. And sometimes when you’ve done that you have to take that pain to its logical end, where hope is slim and your character merely lives to fight another day. So be careful when you pick up those rocks.

    1. Helen Pyne says:

      Lyn, Good point. Your post sounds intriguing. I will be sure to check it out. I don’t mean to gloss over the impact of pain. It can be crippling and cruel. But in my quest to find meaning in life, I’m constantly trying to make sense of the experiences I don’t understand. Often by looking at what’s happened from a different angle. We can’t change what happens to us, only how we react to it.

  3. Jill Koenigsdorf says:

    Good blog entry, Helen! When you give a character some challenges, if the reader is invested s/he will want to see if the character can surmount them. “Because witnessing other people’s pain and observing how they deal with it keeps readers turning pages. Hopefully, it teaches us something too.” I had a teacher once who said “Keep throwing hurdles in their path and see how they get past them.”

    1. Helen Pyne says:

      Thank you, Jill. I confess I don’t like hurdles, but I do like the feeling I get after I’ve successfully jumped over them!

Comments are closed.