embrace your inner sadist

quote o’ the day:

from a great post by Maggie Stiefvater on the fangs_fur_fey website

….that made me start thinking about how famous books and movies would be different if they shied away from hurting the characters in the way they feared the most. Imagine Little Women if Beth just got sinusitis. Star Wars if Luke didn’t have his little paternity crisis. I don’t think readers like it when you are nice to the characters. They think they want characters to be happy, but they don’t really. At least not until the characters have first been really miserable. I think a good writer finds their characters’ monsters and then resurrects them at the worst possible moment, and that we readers, like Jerry Springer audience members, love the angst and drama of it.

Reminds me of something a professor once said: “Personally, I think we should give people what they ought to want.” What you want is not always what you need. Who (other than a psychopath) would ever say they want conflict and suffering? But when it comes to fiction, those are two of the basic food groups.


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