So tell me, did you look at the title and go, “What the hell is he talking about?” If so, then mission accomplished, if not, then why are you still reading?
Hello all! I am Jonathan Snyder and I have been dying to tell you all why you must torture your characters for the sake of a good story! This is also the first time I have ever written a guest blog and so I extend my uttermost thanks to Jessica Werner for this opportunity.
Let’s get back to torturing characters. For the record, I am not referring to medieval style methods or worse, Fifty Shades of Grey. I am referring to the concept that you have to make your character go through tough times to succeed in their goals.
Have you ever stopped and thought about some of your favorite characters outside of the context of their story? In honor of the new Star Wars movie, take Luke Skywalker for instance. His only home and two loving relatives were destroyed by Stormtroopers, he’s been thrust in to a giant galaxy by himself, not to mention he has to find out his parents were horribly murdered and became the most feared man in the galaxy. Even his mentor gets slaughtered after a few weeks together. That’s a lot of stress! Characters need to go through hardship to grow and become more than they are. To be unchallenged is no way to find out who or what they are. Like real people, characters need experience and adversity to be molded to their full potential or in the case of villains, to crack and break in to the monsters they become. They must be tortured by life and their enemies to become better. Not only that, it makes for great stories!
Now, after all this stuff about making sure your characters suffer horrible things, there is one final rule that I feel must be remembered. No matter what you do to your characters, you need to reward them in the end. Give them what they are striving for or find a way to make sure what they did was worth it all. Luke became part of something greater and in the end came to understand what being a Jedi means. Do not just torture your characters and never give them anything in the end, unless you’re trying to mimic Russian literature.
So, there you have it! I hope you enjoyed this post and have a great time sitting at your computers thinking, “So, what horribly thing can I do to you today?”