On Being Too Nice

No one has ever accused me of being too nice. It’s just not in my nature. I am critical and suspicious. I may be empathetic, but it’s hard for me to be sympathetic a lot of the times.

There is an exception to this rule. An exception I think I’ve known for a long time, but kept pushing away. I didn’t want to know it. So I ignored it, or argued it. But the bottom line is, more often than not, I am too nice to my fictional characters.

I’ve read a lot of authors talk about loving to torture their characters. I never understood it. Why would you enjoy putting people, no matter how fictional, in a tortuous position? I didn’t mind giving my characters a difficult past or not so nice personality traits, but on page, I’ve very rarely truly tortured a character.

I told myself I liked stories about regular people dealing with regular things, and it’s true. I do. I love those stories. Nora Roberts does this well. So does Jill Shalvis. And those are auto buys for me.

But…

What sucks me into a story so that I can’t break away? What has me thinking about a book nonstop even if I have (and I mean HAVE) to put it down?

Torture. When a character is an agonizing position. When their emotions are laid completely bare.

It really shouldn’t have taken me this long to have that epiphany, but here I am, having it.

My poor characters better watch out.

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