Friday, June 11, 2010

You Must Hurt

I agree with Charlie - and I’m very well aware that I’m totally sponging off of him. I’ve been trying to think of something to write about all day today. Obviously, I’ve come up short.

A novel needs something that makes you sad - or something along those lines. Think about it, would you be interested in reading something where, say a girl and a guy, had a perfect relationship. No problems - ever. They’re happy and face no unexpected visits from ex-boyfriends or girlfriends. They face no love triangle issues. There’s nothing that’s pressing them to get married or break up. Nothing.

No. Why? Because it’s not realistic. Even the most paranormal, out there, fantasy has to be somewhat realistic. As a reader, I look for a connection to the story. Usually I find it just where I’ve described. In a character to character relationship. Not only with the opposite sex, but also with parents, cousins, great-aunts that have been removed twice. Whatever. I make a connection with relationships. Simply because we all have them. We all know what’s expected of a relationship, what you have to do to maintain it, and we also know, maybe all too well, that no relationship is perfect.

Now, I will not say that I totally agree that someone has to die in every book you write - that’s very unfair to you as the author. My thing is that I will never kill a character in the first book of a series - if I’m planning a series. Who knows? You might want to use that character again and then you won’t have them. Now, this wouldn’t be a big deal if you weren’t published or if you weren’t under contract with a manuscript you’d already sent to agents/publishers. You can always rewrite - but if you are? You’re screwed.

I’m not even going to say that your characters have to be physically or emotionally injured. You just need conflict. Big conflict - not a fight on the play ground that’s over who gets the next swing. Now, is it better if you put your characters through pain - yes. Abso-freaking-lutely! It took me a long time to realize this. All through the first draft, my characters were in a happy relationship from page one (kinda). They never almost-broke up. They always stayed faithful and never faced a really big problem they couldn’t overcome. They accepted each other the way they were immediately. That would never happen. It took me a long time to accept the fact that I was going to have to hurt my babies. But I knew I had to.

I hope this helped.


p.s. Charlie - are you the only one voting in the poll?