Ever get the feeling that your character has grown more than you originally planned. Have they picked up some kind of personality quirk that you didn’t intentionally create? While we might be in control of our characters ultimately, good writers often lead their characters down a path that may result in hurt and pain, as well as something completely unexpected; growth, depth, and personality. After all, it is only by falling down that we learn and grown. Our characters are no different.
Still, hurting our characters or putting them in a position where they might get hurt can be very difficult to the writer, who ultimately loves their character. We spend countless hours building and designing our characters, so why would we want to hurt them? The answer is simple; no one, realistically, has a perfect life. It is only by the trials and tribulations of our lives that we are given definition and strength. Why should the fragments of our mind, our characters, be devoid of the same thing? Should we not strive to make their lives as realistic as possible, even if it means bringing them pain?
Again, the answer is simple; a resounding yes.
Author and business owner James Chartrand explores this topic more in depth on her blog, Men with Pens, where she dedicates an entire post to pointing out why you NEED to hurt your characters in fiction writing. She stresses the need to not only hurt your characters, but the need to follow them to the depths of the hurt and back again. It might be difficult to do, but the result is well worth the nail biting, edge-of-your-seat, suspense, even if you don’t know for sure if your character will actually make it out alive in the end.
(Thanks to the Duronis 2 Embassy for finding this article!)