Thursday, November 18, 2010

Confessions of a big meanie

I will confess. I am a mean author. While I do gaurantee HEAs for all my couples, I can't make any promises on what happens to them along the way there. Bad things happen to good people. It's how the characters react to those bad things that make it interesting and an entertaining story. Plus it makes the eventual triumph all the better when it's hard-earned.

In my NaNo book, Nothing Short of Heaven, Slate and Melanie have most recently had to outrun a fire set by the villain who creeps out even me (and I don't creep easily)and are now dealing with some very tough issues. Not their favorite time, for sure, but as a writer, the feeling I get most is delight. Not because I like torturing these people but because I know that when they are on the other side of this, they (and particularly Slate) are going to be so freaking happy that it's all worth it.

The romance genre does require a happy ending, and that's my favorite part. Our hero and heroine have fought all the obstacles in their way, and won. They are on the mountaintop, together at last and for always. It's the struggle up that mountain that is the journey and the part of the story that always has me in a ridiculously good mood when I write it. Since I write historicals, I have a wide range of wars, famines, plagues, natural disasters and shifting political alliances that can throw stumbling blocks in my characters' quests for HEA. Did I mention playing with medical and psychological issues that would be quite different if modern medicine were available?

Not to mention that I love writing complex villains. Said villains do consider themselves the heroes and our heroes the bad guys, so they have their own agendas and have to fight as hard for their desired outcome as my hero and heroine do. Of course since I'm in charge, they don't win, but they can make things interesting.

Readers, what's the meanest thing you've seen an author do to their characters? How did that work for you within the story? Authors, how do you let your inner meanie out? What's the worst thing you could ever do to a character and still give them their HEA?


Aamba said...

I think you're right, it's the challenges that make the HEA meaningful. It's good that you challenge your characters and force them to grow!

This post reminds me of the movie Stranger than Fiction where Emma Thompson has to face the possibility that all the characters she killed in her books were real people that she actually murdered.

Anna Carrasco Bowling said...

Aamba, I haven't seen that, but I like both Emma Thompson and Will Ferrel (and when comic actors do more dramatic roles) so this has to go on my must see list.

If my characters ever cornered me in a dark alley, I would be concerned they wanted revenge.

Aamba said...

I loved the movie, it seemed like they really captured what it feels like inside a writer's head. Will Ferrel was subdued and not his usual zany character and he did it very well.