A Question for Readers: Should We Bring Them to Their Knees?

February 27, 2013

I’ve heard writers and editors say the key to telling the most compelling story is asking yourself what’s the worst thing that could happen to this character, and then making that happen. It seems like easy enough advice to follow, but I’m not sure I pulled it off until yesterday. Oh sure, I mess around with the idea…Will she get her theatre? Won’t she? Of course, in the end she does. I’ve never destroyed a character’s dream. I’ve never taken the one thing the character wanted and ripped it from his or her grasp never to be seen again. It’s agonizing—for the character and me.

In my life, I avoid negative emotion as much as possible. I will walk away, shut down and completely delude myself into thinking the worst case scenario isn’t happening. I’m a focus-on-the-positive kind of gal, and my writing reflects that. Therefore, I don’t suspect the rest of my books will involve destroying my characters. But, I’d love to know what you think as a reader…

Do you appreciate a story more where the characters are brought to their knees before they get their happily ever after, or do you prefer a lighter read, where there are bumps in the road, but nothing bad enough to cause an emotional wreck?



One Response to “A Question for Readers: Should We Bring Them to Their Knees?”

  1. […] the ‘From Fact to Fiction’ blog this week, Elley posted a similar point about whether stakes should be higher before the end. […]

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