As I write, as I tell the story of characters dear to me, it is sometimes hard to put those characters in difficult situations. It’s hard to see our character’s struggle and make hard choices. But, we have to do it. The story won’t good, it won’t be compelling, if we don’t.
A writer who really loves a character, feels for him or her, might not want to see that character in a hard place. Readers that love a character might want to look away and not see that character a tough spot either. But, the thing is… that’s exactly what the reader comes to see, a great character overcoming hard challenges and making gut-wrenching decisions.
And, your reader doesn’t get to read that stuff unless you write that stuff.
In some ways being a writer is like being a parent. We know our characters will make bad decisions, make mistakes, and end up in places we don’t want them to go. We have to let them go there, and we have to be working on a plan to get them back out (if getting them out is the best choice…).
There’s an old maxim that you have to suffer to write. It’s true, you have to have lived, at least enough to imagine being in a rough place convincingly. And then, you have to ‘ride along’ with your hero or heroine as she/he goes through the pitfalls of the story you’re creating.
It’s hard. It really is. But, if you want compelling, if you want a story people will read, you have to gut it out and go there. It’s part of success and part of the job description.
That’s it for this one dear reader. Some of you might be asking “how do I do that?” It’s a worthy question. It’s also a question that depends on who you are and what you’re writing. If you want me to give my answer, or if you have suggestions of your own, leave a comment. And, I’ll see you next post.