Writer musings: Torturing your characters

A good story offers a conflict your character must overcome. Aside from the initial problem they have to deal with, they often need to endure a personal conflict they also juggling through the story arc. Many stories include a number of problems to ‘raise the stakes’, add tension, and give reason for the character to grow beyond their comfort zone.

“Tragedy should be utilized as a source of strength.” (Tibetan proverb)  Pain is also the best teacher, and with that thought, you put your characters through hell so they can make it to the other side older and wiser.

A character needs to learn and grow. Good stories tell a story of conflict. Great stories tell stories of growth, stating something about the human condition, and pushing through the mundane stuff to find the hero underneath.

Pain is a teacher. Through the hardest experiences, we often learn the most about who we are, what we’re capable of, and strips us of everything to the very core of our being. Not every character will need such hardships, but ask yourself if causing them more problems, more conflicts, more pain serves to build them as a stronger character.

Prompt: Consider your characters, both the protagonist, and antagonist, as well as sidekicks, and consider what hardships they could face to overcome whatever weakness or fears they might have.

Think of your own fears, and what you may endure to find the courage to overcome.


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