Me – a Sadist?

17 Jan

I was reading a writing article the other day about how writers are supposed to be sadists. We’re supposed to be mean to our main characters. And to other characters, too, I suppose.

This gave me pause. I’m not mean. I run from conflict. I want happy endings for everyone involved. How am I supposed to build conflict and tension in my stories if I can’t stand it in my own life? The worst conflict I wrestle with is wanting to dump the bag of chocolate chips into the peanut butter and eat it straight from the jar.

I was going to do a test run here and try some meanness on for size, but even the thought of writing a quick little story with twists and turns makes my brain go blank. Ack!

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Maybe I need to make a menu of problems. There’s a thought. I could make an a la carte list of tragedies, or I can put together whole meals of coordinating conflict. I like the idea of a list better.

Appetizers: flat tire on the way to work, coffee spilled on clothing on the way out of the door, gasoline at the pump squirted on shoes.

Soup course: cell phone dies (more than just dead battery), laptop crashes, purse snatched.

Main course: dog poisoned, papers served (divorce, foreclosure, being sued), car wreck, house burgled.

Dessert: kidnapping, murder, mayhem!

I think I could get the hang of this. Well, I could get the hang of thinking up tragedies. It’s the unraveling I might have issues with. But I guess not every conflict needs to be unwound.

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2 Responses to “Me – a Sadist?”

  1. Crystal January 17, 2012 at 10:32 am #

    Interesting post. I love to kill off the main characters at the end of my short stories. I find satisfaction in it wich is totally opposite from my treu character. I wouldn’t hurt a fly. 🙂

  2. veryVERYbusymom January 17, 2012 at 11:52 pm #

    The best piece of advice I got about writing screenplays is: “Be willing to murder your babies.” Pretty sadistic, but it meant that I may be totally in love with something I wrote, but if it didn’t work for the script, it needed to be cut.

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