Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Black half week. (and what it reminded me of...)

I swear that someone up there is either out to get me or has a perverse sense of humour. Because almost anything mechanical or technological has decided to conspire against me.

My car. My car's radiator. My blackberry. My toaster (I discovered that it hadn't popped when I started to smell burning.)

Part of me is seriously wondering what's going to happen next.

Still, there are upsides to all of these events. My car overheated in the parking lot of the student center, where my friend Theresa could call her brother to fix the car. Rather than being stranded in the middle of nowhere.

The radiator apparently now decides on its own when it wants to start and I can't get it to work like it should. Luckily I was able to hear the deafening silence while I was still in front of my flat, instead of just before I see steam rising from the bonnet.

My blackberry refuses to charge and has now died on me. But... at least that didn't happen during an emergency. Like, say, while calling fire fighters because my flat was burning to the ground due to a malfunctioning toaster. Also, it kept itself alive long enough to wake me up in time to prepare for class. Of course, my car did let me down on getting me there, but that isn't the point.

And the toaster? I managed to hear the toast crackle on time for me to realize that there was a huge problem going down. Luckily I hadn't left the kitchen as was my initial intention.

So... in the midst of all this crap that happened, at least I had luck that went along with it.

I guess that's important when you tell a story, too. Put your characters through as much bad stuff as you like, but at least try to give what happens some meaning. I HATE when a writer tortures and maims a character, kills his family, has a dog pee against his leg and ends up having a bus running over him, just to add depth to his character and with no significance to the story. I HATE that authors like that even get published at all when they write like that. (Personal preference)

After all, most of us have killed a character. Usually I cry while typing those scenes, but I know that that character's death means something to the story. That it has to be done. But seriously, even if it's subtle and difficult to see, there has to be some bright side to the bitterness. For example character growth, or to get the story to the point when something has to give. Or to give the usually nice character a justifiable reason to be less than nice.

Just be sensitive. Killing the main character's best friend and then not having the MC mourning said friend's demise, is not sensitive. I find that I tend to take an instant dislike to main characters like that. But then I take just as much of a dislike to characters that moan and moan and moan about what happens to them without actively trying to do something about it.

It's a fine balance, but really, if you can't have your character roll with your punches, please please please just lighten the load on his shoulders? I'm sure that I won't be the only reader that will love you for it.


  1. great post misha, loved it in fact, totally agree in every disaster there has to be a little light. I agree that if a character must be killed your protagonist should then reacted accordingly to his or her charcter traits.
    Thanks for popping by to I see you and thanks for following.

    Hope that your having a superdooper Thursday!

  2. I'm glad you liked it :-)

    Hope you have a great day too

  3. This is great advice, Misha. I never quite thought of it that way, but I've always felt a certain pointlessness to some character tortures. This makes sense!

  4. Thanks a lot!

    I think it's awesome if I can help people to see a different aspect to something.

    I always feel something for characters when I read, since they always become people to me, even if the story isn't particularly well written. I blame my over-active imagination, but I guess that's why I feel so strongly about cruelty to characters.


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