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message 1: by Joe (new)

Joe Jackson (shoelessauthor) Do you ever feel evil for the things you put your poor characters through?

Here's my poor main character, just trying to make the world a better place, and here I am, throwing scheming nobles, civil wars, demon kings, and all the little trials and tribulations of life in her way.

What did she ever do to me?


message 2: by Riley, Viking Extraordinaire (new)

Riley Amos Westbrook (sonshinegreene) | 1510 comments Mod
Nope, because they're nothing but my stressball. I am an uncaring god of pain, misery, torment, and despair! They should be happy I gave them a signifigant other!


message 3: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) LOL! I sometimes feel bad, especially when I cut off their limbs or give them head injuries. I tend to be just as much a klutz with my characters' collective well beings as I am with my own two oversized feet. ;)

But aside from the seven billion or so that I killed off in the zombie apocalypse, I'm usually pretty nice to them by the end. :)


message 4: by Shannon (new)

Shannon Reber | 181 comments Joe wrote: "Do you ever feel evil for the things you put your poor characters through?

Here's my poor main character, just trying to make the world a better place, and here I am, throwing scheming nobles, civ..."

LOL, yep! I wonder what my poor characters think when they see me coming. "Run! Shannon's coming! Everybody hide!" 8-) What makes me feel truly evil though, is how much fun I have putting them through this crap! Glad to know somebody else feels the same way I do! 8-)


message 5: by Owen (new)

Owen O'Neill (owen_r_oneill) | 1509 comments Joe wrote: "Do you ever feel evil for the things you put your poor characters through?"

Yes, we do. There are parts of our books I dislike reading and tend to avoid.


message 6: by Ty (new)

Ty (tyunglebo) | 50 comments Generally, no, not so far. I don't see myself as an omnipotent, throwing lighting down on characters in my fiction. I sometimes see myself as a conductor of predetermined arcs and concepts, like a symphony. Other times it's like brushing the sand away from a buried statue in the desert. In either case, I tend to feel like I am servicing a story.


message 7: by G.G. (new)

G.G. (ggatcheson) | 2491 comments Do I? < insert evil laugh >

That would be a question best answered by my MC, but good luck finding him. He's probably hiding as we speak, afraid of what I'll do to him if he dare complain.

I seriously questioned my sanity after I published the sequel when one of the biggest fans messaged me, telling me it was a disturbing read at times. His comment made me feel evil, and I almost unpublished the book because of that. So to answer your question: Do I ever feel evil? My answer would be, yes, all the times when it comes to my poor MC.


message 8: by K.P. (new)

K.P. Merriweather (kp_merriweather) | 266 comments I am an evil god. This I will admit. Damn you Cromier for giving me the idea lolz.

I enjoy torturing my poor characters. Because I'd be rotting under the jail if I did half the stuff in real life mwahahahaha.


But seriously though, would a nice happy sunshine rainbows unicorn glitter life would be really all that interesting? But then again too much grimdark can be overkill. There's got to be a happy balance somewhere. Like a colorful world where you can taste the diabetes is just a front for something much more sinister...

*gears turning*


message 9: by Eric (new)

Eric Stockwell | 31 comments Amusingly enough, this discussion reminds me of concepts broached within one of the Matrix movies in which it was explained that humans were incapable of accepting a true utopia. The true crux, in attaining one's personal utopia, is the oppressive, ever-looming and soul-crushing adversary that I like to call boredom.

So, as to the above question, I don't necessarily consider myself evil for any of the brutal things I may enact on the characters and readers. I view myself as an ambivalent God, adhering solely to my effort to keep things interesting. The internal thought of, “Sorry guys, it's nothin personal,” comes up a lot.


message 10: by Charles (last edited Aug 24, 2015 02:45PM) (new)

Charles Hash | 1054 comments I don't think I'm evil enough. I'm always looking to raise the bar in a non-traditional way.

My characters have watched their parents die, have had their entire body removed, die in fires, get eviscerated, eaten alive, beheaded, have suffered childhood trauma, have dark secrets, are obsessed, often in denial to their circumstances or the motivations of others, have their homeworlds destroyed, kidnapped, imprisoned, enslaved, body swapped, turned into puppets, watch their loved ones die, break their legs and arms, and generally lose all hope for themselves and humanity until they face a moral dilemma that reminds them that humanity still exists.

Also they make bad decisions based on flawed information, or they are manipulative and in general are not very nice. The softest, sweetest characters are usually the strongest in their own way, and I make them suffer for it the most.

And despite that, I think I could be far more cruel, but I'm not being cruel for the sake of it. The things I do to my characters are plot points and character development.


message 11: by Jay (new)

Jay Cole (jay_cole) Who was it that said...Oh, yeah:

“The writer's job is to get the main character up a tree, and then once they are up there, throw rocks at them.”
― Vladimir Nabokov

No need to feel evil for doing your job, as long as your not a criminal, a terrorist or a Wall Street banker.


message 12: by Joe (new)

Joe Jackson (shoelessauthor) Charles wrote: "My characters have watched their parents die, have had their entire body removed, die in fires, get eviscerated, eaten alive, beheaded, have suffered childhood trauma, have dark secrets, are obsessed, often in denial to their circumstances or the motivations of others, have their homeworlds destroyed, kidnapped, imprisoned, enslaved, body swapped, turned into puppets, watch their loved ones die, break their legs and arms, and generally lose all hope for themselves and humanity until they face a moral dilemma that reminds them that humanity still exists."

Suddenly, Charles' books are looking very tempting...!


message 13: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4270 comments Mod
Joe wrote: "Do you ever feel evil for the things you put your poor characters through?"

*chuckle*

No.


message 14: by Owen (new)

Owen O'Neill (owen_r_oneill) | 1509 comments Joe wrote: "Suddenly, Charles' books are looking very tempting...!"

I'll just say: "Yes, be tempted. Be prepared -- but be tempted."


message 15: by Mike (new)

Mike Vavrinak | 28 comments Guilty? No, but there were times I did a private little happy dance in my head when some of my more distasteful characters finally got theirs.


message 16: by Michael (new)

Michael P. Dunn (wordboy1) | 86 comments I always wanted to be the one to decide who lives and who dies... (insert maniacal evil scientist laugh)


message 17: by Morris (new)

Morris Graham (morris_g) I had a character that I made you love, only to kill him later.


message 18: by T.L. (new)

T.L. Clark (tlcauthor) | 727 comments Haha, yeah I do.
Some of my characters really are put through the wringer. There's been scenes which made me cry as I wrote them. "You're being ridiuclous!" (I told myself) "You are in control of the outcome. You KNOW what's going to happen!!" But still the tears fell.

Sometimes we have to be cruel to be kind, and to entice our readers! ;-P

P.S. They're not real, you know! Remind yourself of that from time to time. ;-P


message 19: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) The warped mind of an author explained:

Blow up a planet? Yes.

Torture the hell out of the MC? Of course.

Kill off half the cast? At least half.

Kill a puppy? What the #%&$ is wrong with you, you sick #%$&???


message 20: by Joe (new)

Joe Jackson (shoelessauthor) Yup, like people who watch apocalyptic movies and laugh at all the people getting vaporized or eaten by zombies, but as soon as a dog dies, the show/movie sucks and "what's wrong with those writers?!"


message 21: by Douglas (new)

Douglas (pegamooseg) | 19 comments Me? Evil?

Does it count if they were monkeys and not puppies?


message 22: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) Depends. Were they run of the mill monkeys or were they adorable big eyed baby monkeys? Cute is a protected species.


message 23: by Douglas (new)

Douglas (pegamooseg) | 19 comments One monkey did try to cuddle up to one of the characters.

Mental note: For the sequel, consider adding baby seals and kittens...for...no reason whatsoever. Honest. (*ahem*)


message 24: by G.G. (new)

G.G. (ggatcheson) | 2491 comments Christina wrote: "The warped mind of an author explained:

Blow up a planet? Yes.

Torture the hell out of the MC? Of course.

Kill off half the cast? At least half.

Kill a puppy? What the #%&$ is wrong with you, ..."


hahaha Twisted yet so true!


message 25: by April (new)

April Wilson (aprilwilson) I never feel evil when bad things happen to my protagonists - it's just part of the story. But I do hurt along with them.


message 26: by April (new)

April Wilson (aprilwilson) G.G. wrote: "Christina wrote: "Kill a puppy? What the #%&$ i..."

Dogs (especially puppies) are OFF LIMITS. :) Everyone knows that!


message 27: by Douglas (new)

Douglas (pegamooseg) | 19 comments April wrote: "Dogs (especially puppies) are OFF LIMITS. :) Everyone knows that!"

Is that just for children's stories? Or, in general? ;)


message 28: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4270 comments Mod
Christina wrote: "Kill a puppy? What the #%&$ is wrong with you, you sick #%$&??? "

Oh my God! Fred Gipson killed Old Yeller! You bastard!


message 29: by Micah (new)

Micah Sisk (micahrsisk) | 1042 comments Putting your characters through hell isn't evil, it's your job. That's what we call conflict and story tension.

[caveat] As long as there's a reason to do it. [/caveat]

IMHO GRRM is guilty of being evil because of what he does to his audience, not his characters. I gave up on the whole GoT thing. It's broken, AFAIAC. (Your mileage may vary.)


message 30: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4270 comments Mod
If you have never ever read my short story "We Fear the Living" and you want to without spoilers, close your eyes for the rest of this comment.

Eyes closed? Good.

What I find amusing is that I tortured and did all manner of cruel things to three characters in that story and it upsets some readers. BUT no one seems to care about the five hundred people, mostly children, who died in a fire before the story starts.


message 31: by April (new)

April Wilson (aprilwilson) Douglas wrote: "April wrote: "Dogs (especially puppies) are OFF LIMITS. :) Everyone knows that!"

Is that just for children's stories? Or, in general? ;)"


That rule goes for everyone. :)


message 32: by April (new)

April Wilson (aprilwilson) Micah wrote: "I gave up on the whole GoT thing. It's broken, AFAIAC. (Your mileage may vary.) "

I'm with you on the GoT thing, Micah. I have a love/hate relationship with the series. Martin, quit killing off all the main characters. What reason would I have for continuing to read/watch the series?

I never forgave him for Ned, and then Khal Drogo... after that, it just kept going downhill. I watch/read series to love my favorite characters, not to watch them die off like there's a plague.


message 33: by Charles (new)

Charles Hash | 1054 comments I hope I can accomplish that with my series one day. Make readers put it down after investing hundreds of hours in it because I hurt their feelings by killing their favorite character?

Hell yes.


message 34: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4270 comments Mod
April wrote: "That rule goes for everyone. :)"

Nah. Dogs die. It's sad, but it happens. There should be no rule against it in books.


message 35: by Charles (new)

Charles Hash | 1054 comments People watch Ol Yeller all the time.


message 36: by G.G. (new)

G.G. (ggatcheson) | 2491 comments April wrote: "Micah wrote: "I gave up on the whole GoT thing. It's broken, AFAIAC. (Your mileage may vary.) "

I'm with you on the GoT thing, Micah. I have a love/hate relationship with the series. Martin, quit ..."


That's exactly my thoughts too. What good does it do to read a book or watch a series just to see all of my favorite characters die? I mean I can live with one, if there's another to take the place but with GoT, you can't root for anyone for fear of losing them.

On the other hand, that's the sole reason my son loves the series. He likes that nothing is off limit. Of course, he's a fervent supporter of killing the MC at the end of the story. Why am I not surprised?


message 37: by Joe (new)

Joe Jackson (shoelessauthor) Wow, don't get invested in Raymond E Feist either if you don't like characters being killed off.


message 38: by Charles (new)

Charles Hash | 1054 comments There's always Disney.


message 39: by Micah (new)

Micah Sisk (micahrsisk) | 1042 comments Charles wrote: "I hope I can accomplish that with my series one day. Make readers put it down after investing hundreds of hours in it because I hurt their feelings by killing their favorite character?..."

Actually it wasn't that for me. It was more about frustration on my part. I felt like my intellectual and emotional time was being wasted. You invest thought and attachment to characters written AS main characters, then they get killed for no useful plot reason and suddenly you realize all that investment was ultimately put into a character who in the end is nothing but a side show. After 2.5 books I realized there WAS no main character no matter how hard GRRM tried to make you think there was, and so there was no point reading more. Doesn't work for me.


message 40: by Charles (new)

Charles Hash | 1054 comments There are several characters that are believed to have plot armor. Of course, one of them is on the ground bleeding to death at the end of book 5.

I'm not sure why everyone considers a non-pov character to be a main character in that series anyway. I like that I don't feel safe while reading them.

As far as being killed for no useful plot reason, that is simply absurd. You really can't say what effect that death had on the plot since you quit reading it. I would say every single character that dies in the series has a meaningful impact that completely changes the dynamic of the series every time it happens. As far as your time being wasted, you were the one that did that when you put it down, not GRRM.


message 41: by Micah (last edited Aug 25, 2015 10:02AM) (new)

Micah Sisk (micahrsisk) | 1042 comments Charles wrote: "As far as being killed for no useful plot reason, that is simply absurd. You really can't say what effect that death had on the plot since you quit reading it. I would say every single character that dies in the series has a meaningful impact that completely changes the dynamic of the series every time it happens. As far as your time being wasted, you were the one that did that when you put it down, not GRRM."

Yeah...okay. So every time someone gives up on a book because it doesn't work for them, it's their fault? Hmm.

Look, here's my actual criticism of GoT: GRRM wanted to portray a fantasy world as if it was an historic world: people die. Doesn't matter if they're good people or bad.

The problem for me is that he simultaneously wrote the books from a standard fantasy angle where the reader is predisposed to associate "good" with one side, and "bad" with another. GRRM pulls all the emotional strings to make us favor one faction over another. That's not historically accurate. In history there is almost never a clear good vs bad angle.

Had he written it as history where the good vs evil was far more ambiguous, where the characters are more like historic figures and less like fantasy heroes...and had he been more interested in actually pushing the plot forward rather than dithering around with unnecessary plot loops--dragon lady's on the rise...nope, she's knocked down...on the rise!...knocked down...let's do this again, shall we?--well, I would have been more inclined to carry on.

What doesn't work for me is the "this side is the good guys, that side is bad...Now I just killed all good guy POV characters I've made you root for, ha, ha, fuck you, damn I'm so clever."

I'm in the minority, I know, but that's how I feel and I'm not going to spend more time reading things that I don't enjoy.

P.S. I feel so strongly about this because, upon reflection, perhaps I'm more disappointed that GRRM spoiled it for me. There is a LOT of really great ideas and good writing in this series. However, these good parts did not outweigh the bad for me.


message 42: by Charles (new)

Charles Hash | 1054 comments I don't think there is a good side in that series. That is all perception based. People do what they think is right, some people don't care what is wrong.

In fact, I could definitely argue that the Starks are the bad guys in the series. They should have stayed home and protected the north, but no they had to go to the big city like a bunch of hillbillies to try to show them city slickers how it is supposed to be done. And just like the country mouse, they pay the price for it. The Starks make bad decisions based on misguided notions of nobility and they have to have it their way. Everyone else is just trying to survive and Ned is just trying to tear the kingdom apart because of some circumstantial evidence?

But I hate the Starks. I have always hated the Starks. My favorite characters are more in the line of Theon, Varys, Littlefinger, Jaime...the ones that aren't generic hero stereotypes that are set up to be destroyed. I'm glad most of the Starks are dead. I hate the ones that are still alive. One of them has external plot armor and can never die unfortunately, though.

Good vs evil? There are no good or evil characters in the series. I don't see how anyone could think so. Oh, those frozen undead things are supposedly evil, but I'm not even convinced of that. Considering the way humans behave in the series, maybe the undead are the good guys.

As far as Danaerys goes, I wish he had left her out of the series as he originally intended. The only interesting character with her is Jorah.

So yes, if someone (Khal Drogo, Ned) falls under the generic fantasy hero template, you can cross them off the list. They're going to die.


message 43: by Charles (last edited Aug 25, 2015 10:41AM) (new)

Charles Hash | 1054 comments I mean, I could take my time making legitimate digs against other authors, but that's not what this group is for. I have a dozen of authors on a hate list that are way worse than Martin but I don't bother. And you don't bother with them either. Just him. Every chance you get.


message 44: by Joe (new)

Joe Jackson (shoelessauthor) You guys are getting a little personal. Mods are going to start deleting posts. This is getting as bad as the 1-star review arguments...


message 45: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) Yep, you two are way off topic and YOU AREN'T EVEN ARGUING ABOUT AN INDIE AUTHOR!!!

Ahem... What I meant to say was, Charles and Micah, would you two kindly take this discussion to PM or something so that we might go back to discussing how WE are evil and not some guy who is making all the money?
:D


message 46: by Douglas (new)

Douglas (pegamooseg) | 19 comments Curses, Christina! I would have gotten away with it if it weren't for your meddling mods!

Evil Plan...
Step 1: Derail and distract the indies onto an off-topic argument.
Step 2: Steal all the glory.
Step 3: Laugh maniacally.

Now, I'll have to change it to...
Step 2b: Put the glory back (at least the portion noted as missing).
Step 3b: Sob maniacally.


message 47: by Charles (new)

Charles Hash | 1054 comments Well, we were talking about one of the most evil authors on the planet, in terms of what he does to both the characters and the readers.


message 48: by Christina (last edited Aug 25, 2015 11:41AM) (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) Douglas wrote: "Now, I'll have to change it to...
Step 2b: Put the glory back (at least the portion noted as missing).
Step 3b: Sob maniacally."


Uh huh... Are you *sure* that was the only glory you took? Do we need to make you turn out your pockets in front of the entire group?


message 49: by Douglas (new)

Douglas (pegamooseg) | 19 comments I think you should do the teacher thing...

"Okay. I'm going to turn out the lights, and when I turn them on again, I better see the rest of the glory on my desk."

(Of course, that's when I plan to steal back the rest of the glory and flee the room.)

D'oh! I must be evil. I just revealed my entire evil plans. (*hangs head in shame*)


message 50: by Charles (new)

Charles Hash | 1054 comments No, Christina is the kind that just needs to rap her stick on the desk a couple of times and give the hairy eye to the troublemakers. They'll shape up!


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