LOL…actually, I didn’t ask Julie’s permission at all to write this, but wanted to fill you guys in. I just finished her new novel, A Hope Undaunted – first in the Winds of Change series, and let me tell you this much:
It was excruciatingly beautiful. (how’s that for a description)
I will write a ‘formal’ review later, but I wanted to just chat about torturing your reader, by torturing your characters. I’m afraid I have a lot to learn in this category, but Julie does is beautifully. My insides were shaking with anticipation by the end of the novel. She didn’t disappoint in the reward, though, so keep that in mind.
Why do we like to read books where the characters (and inevitably the readers) are put through agony? I think it’s because we are a ‘feeling’ people and WANT to feel emotions in an intense and empathetic sort of way. It’s another form of escape.
And there seems to be a formula for doing this in writing.
Make the character really, really want something.
And don’t give it to them.
Actually, you might even want to give them the opposite.
It comes down to something as simple as the old Road Runner and Coyote cartoons. Coyote WANTS Road Runner, and we almost think he’s going to get him, but….he never does. So we keep watching for the next time, because just maybe he’ll catch Road Runner. Nope.
It’s the chase. The uncertainty. The longing.
Oh my, and Julie did it fabulously. I HAD to finish the book. HAD to.
So, make a list. What type of torture can you blast your characters with? What do they want more than anything? Can you take it away? How will they survive?
In inspirational fiction, THAT is the moment where the only true answer (the only TRUE need) comes into play. When we have ‘nothing’, then we realize in our spirits we truly have everything.
Don’t you think that if God didn’t even spare His OWN SON for us, that He’ll take care of us. I love helping my characters learn that because each time it’s a new revelation to me. A new beautiful reminder.
I need to really know my characters, so I can get to the heart of how to make them weep. How are you torturing the characters in your wip? Or if you’re reading a book, how are the characters being tortured?