Yes boys and girls, it's that time again. My highly intelligent, well educated and overly talented blog chain writer buddies are certainly showing they have a darker side this time around.
I LOVE IT!
This one was the brain-child of recently agented (congrats) Leah Clifford (http://leahclifford.livejournal.com). Elana J was before me (http://elanajohnson.blogspot.com/) and since I am the last link in this chain, start back at the beginning with Leah for her wrap-up!
Here's our question:
What do you do to amp up the conflict? What pins do you stick in the little voodoo dolls? How do you torture your characters?
In some of the previous responses, it seems my writerly friends are much nicer than I. Can you imagine NOT hurting your characters? Well, some did like their characters so much that it was hard to do for them.
Hurting my characters was a problem for me in the beginning, but not in the way you would think. I, uh, was going to kill almost all of my characters, leaving Margaret, the MC alone and miserable. In fact, I even had her death scene at the end planned. I imagined horrible deaths.
*Sword through the gut, but it would take a few hours to die...
*Beaten to a pulp with head bashed in, surprisingly quick death, but really gory scene...
*Horrible death giving birth all alone...
*Father dying slowly, gasping for breath, in excruciating pain from poison...
*Snapping of the neck, that was short and sweet and well deserved...
*Dying alone, old and weak...
My writing teacher told me in no uncertain terms, "You can't kill off all your main characters!"
"Oh yes I can. It's my book, and I can kill anybody I want."
"Then you will not be commercially viable."
"Who cares? I'm writing this for me! And I am killing everyone!!!"
Yeah. How many of you guys laughed? Who the hell doesn't want to be commercially viable? Needless to say, after a while (I don't like to admit when I'm wrong), I had to tell this wonderful teacher that he was right and I was wrong. That wasn't the only thing I had to admit to being wrong about. That poor man got several emails after the class had ended. I may hate to admit I'm wrong, but I will do it.
So, we have established that I do want to be commercially viable. That being said, my historical WIP became a Historical Romance and I did still kill off a few characters (only three). I also learned that I can follow a formula while writing (I had to take out some of my sex scenes...funny thing about fidelity in a romance, a rape scene...he got his neck snapped anyway, and I didn't entirely kill Patrick...he still got stabbed and I still got to write my almost death scene).
Okay, so I have to keep my dark side in check. I call it my "social filter" while functioning as a person in the real world.
How about you? How dark and evil are you really? How's that social filter?