Saturday, February 14, 2009

Give Me a Break

When I opened up the back door Friday night to let the dog out, there it was again, that dreaded white stuff I've come to hate. All I could say was, "Give me a break."

Actually, I did get a brief respite of a few days from that dreaded slippery, wet stuff. During the intermission, I thoroughly enjoyed walking the dog, walking to work and other activities I'd missed, which I couldn't do when the snow made it too difficult to travel on foot. Spring seemed so close I could almost think it had arrived.

That was before the cold, soft, flakes hit me in the face when I opened the back door. Once again, I'm dealing with what looks oh, so pretty, but doesn't act so very nice.

This dismal turn of events reminds me of a novel. The hero and/or heroine suffers through all sorts of calamities. Then, when everything appears to be okay, calamity hits with a vengeance. Wham, once again, the world is not so pretty. The only hope is that somehow everything will turn out all right at the end.

So, as an author, I put my characters through the roughest winters I can think of, I give them a short break, pile on more snow, then at the end I reward them with the wonders of Spring sunshine.

What about you? Do you like to torture your characters? Can you think of any novels where you thought all was lost, yet somehow everything turned out all right? Or, maybe, can you think of novels where you were disappointed because the author treated the characters too nicely? Please share.


  1. Great comparison!
    Yes, I do try to make the worst thing happen. Not sure I always torture my characters the way I should, but I'm working on that. Yes, I hate it when everything is easy going for the story. What's the point of the book if the protag has nothing to fight for or against?

  2. I agree- great comparison, Morgan. Conflict is essential to a good story-but I think you must find the right amount- conflict for conflict's sake feels contrived and over done to me. As if the author is saying, "Well, if that isn't good's some more."

    Happy Valentine's day!

  3. I think it depends on the character. I have a few that go through struggles, but they are not the greatest of calamities because real life isn't like that all the time. But I couple I have tortured - and for some reason it's easier to do to the guys than the girls!

    Sorry the snow bummed you out!!

    L. Diane Wolfe

  4. Conflict is needed to drive your characters forward as was stated above. I don't know if I think it could be overdone or just not done right. There are times when the conflict itself or the way the characters handle the conflict makes me think-to borrow Morgan's phrase-give me a break.

    Thanks for sharing Morgan!Hoping you catch a break soon, but you know that little furry guy didn't think winter was done yet....

  5. Anonymous10:50 AM

    I almost hate to say that aversity builds character but I believe a reader draws closer to the book when they can identify with what the character is going through. How they resolve the situation and how it does or does not change them makes a story more interesting and draws the reader in. So I'd say a little bit of torture is like a spice that brings out the flavor.

  6. We were thrilled to find white stuff in our yard! Right now it's sunny but the worst storm of the winter is predicted here for tonight with the snow levels down to 1000 feet. (We live at 1000 feet so we're thrilled.)

    By the way, I live in California, foothills of the Sierra in the center of the state.

    Wrote about the same on my blog.


  7. I love to torture my characters with horrid weather. It's one of my favorite pastimes. :) I think about how much I loathe the winter come February, and that's when I tend to start writing really wicked stuff... long storms, entire worlds that have been frozen by evil magic. You name it. If I can freeze them in some kind of hideous place, I'll gladly do it, just so someone else can feel what I'm going through.

    Jenny Bean

  8. Since you seem to like snow, I have a few tons I can have shipped your way.

    I write kritter stories so all conflicts are mild. Can't hurt the little things, now can we?

  9. I can't comment on character struggles because I write about cute little fairies. But, about that white stuff - ugh!!!!!!!!!

  10. Hello Morgan - dropping by to say thank you for visiting my blog and leaving a comment. I am not a writer but do love to read and you now have me thinking about books with endings that have surprised or disappointed! I may be back!

    We live in a part of the UK that gets very little snow, ever. This year we have had several falls but only just a covering each time - all gone within a couple of days - disappointing really! A

  11. Yeah, you gotta give your characters obstacles to overcome. By doing that they grow and change. You can overdo it, though. I usually watch 24, but didn't last week, so I asked my husband, how many people did Bauer kill this hour? Every week, which is only one hour in the character's life, there are huge, major fights and traumas. If it were a book and every chapter was like that, it'd be not only exhausting, but probably a book you'd slam down, with a "Gimme a break."


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