Wednesday, October 20, 2010


I suppose I wouldn't be much of a writer if I didn't have an overactive imagination. A few weeks ago I went off on a tangent about a recent local business drama had the possibility of being international trade espionage. But my flair for the dramatic doesn't always serve me well. Yesterday I received a text from my Aunt concerning an visit to the ER by my Uncle. It was late when she sent the text saying everything was fine and that they'd call later. While I waited for that call, I received another text. This time from my baby brother saying that there had been an accident at his workplace. So while stressing out about the ER text, I'm stressing about the accident text, and my mind is going to dual worst-case scenarios. Ultimately I was proved to be stressed out for nothing; ER text ended up being hyper-extended tendons from coaching soccer, and accident text was a thankfully trauma-free operator error that didn't involve my baby brother (it did involve a 34 ton piece of machinery that somehow ended up on its roof, which confuses me still).

Looking back at some of the things that were running through my head made me wonder why the worst-possible scenario is where I immediately went.

I had a conversation awhile back that centered on readers and suspension-of-disbelief issues; some readers tended to lose interest in a story if a character was treated "too nice" by the author. Not that anyone can accuse me of being even nice to my characters (let alone too nice), but the idea fascinates me.

Personally, I don't mind if a character has a nearly insurmountable task ahead of them. If they didn't, there wouldn't be much of a reason to be interested in the story. Frodo having a Mt. Doom lava vent running under his cute lil hobbit house wouldn't have been all that dramatic. Oh, get rid of the ring? Sure. *Plunk* That was easy! Danger, conflict, and drama are vital. But when the author (or screenwriter) is needlessly stacking the odds against a single character, I find that just as distracting as the "too nice" angle. But, to be fair, deus ex machina-type stuff gives me hives.

I suppose, like with anything else, it comes down to personal preferences. One reader's view of kid gloves is another reader's view of chainmail sharksuit hand protectors. Or really itchy wool mittens, those are bad, too. :)


  1. Glad your worry proved to be unfounded.

    I find some dramatic situations make me feel stressed in a bad way. Some immerse me in a good way. I suppose I should figure out what the difference is. Why some is good and some not.

  2. Glad everything turned out okay.

    As a writer, the worse situation is the best, lol. In my life, I try to steer clear of thinking of the worse. Sometimes this doesn't work.

    Totally agree, sometimes a character can have too many odds against him. We as writers must find the healthy medium.


  3. Ohmigosh, ladies, I SO am not ignoring you. Life just got a tad crazy for a bit. :D

    M Pax- Funny how that works, huh? Edge of your seat is fine with me, but when it crosses into actually stressing me out, I don't like it either.

    Cher- Agreed. Maybe that's why I'm so mean to my characters? Channeling stuff into something that isn't my life. Lol.