I just wrote a novella told from a cat’s POV. I intended this story to be lighthearted, but it starts with bad things happening to the cat…and it soon gets worse. Then I started my next book in the series. Again, I wanted this to be lighter than the paranormal books I’ve been writing, but it starts with some heavy stuff…and after that, I really throw some bad things at my main character. So much that I decided to add a second POV character with a less intense storyline to give the reader a break. But even as I write this secondary POV character, I know her turn to be a main character will come soon…and I’ll be mean to her, too.
When I first started writing, I was too nice to my characters. I would get them into trouble in one scene, and out the next. Or I would almost get the main characters in trouble…but it would never quite happen. I finally realized that because of my ‘niceness,’ there was no real tension in my stories. No need for a reader to turn the pages to see what was going to happen next. When characters aren’t in trouble or helping someone else in trouble, it’s…boring.
Look at this nursery rhyme that’s been around since at least the 18th century (according to Wikipedia):
Jack and Jill went up the hill
To fetch a pail of water.
Jack fell down and breaks his crown,
Then Jill came tumbling after.
No boring moment there. The mean author threw them in trouble in the first verse, even breaking poor Jack’s crown. As Mr. Bill would say, “Oh nooooooooo.”
“I am the the Keeper of Paradise, Purgatory, and Hell.”
Who doesn’t wish they could say that to people that annoy us? But most of us aren’t King Henry VIII’s Keeper of the Palace of Westminster and his Yoeman of the Crossbows. Within a couple of pages, Michelle throws a worse problem at John Parker. A murder. And after that comes more trouble. Michelle Diener is a mean author.
Bound In Sin by Cynthia Eden starts with the heroine needing help from the alpha werewolf who’d claimed her as his ten years previously. She hasn’t seen him since then, because she’d been changed into a vampire – and vamps are weres’ mortal enemies. Trouble right away. And of course, it gets worse. Way worse. Cynthia Eden is a mean author.
In Cassie’s Corner by Dale Mayer starts with Cassie’s friend Todd waking her in the middle of the night, telling her not to believe what she hears about him…and the next day she finds out he was dead. She’d been talking to his ghost. Dale Mayer is a mean author.
I could go on about every author who’s part of Magical Musings, but this blog would be way too long. If you’re a reader, I’d love to hear what kind of author meanness you’ve encountered that’s stuck in your mind. And if you’re an author, what foul deed have you committed against a character lately?