?

Do you like making your character suffer?

  1. Yes

    78.9%
  2. No

    10.5%
  3. You're crazy O.o

    10.5%
  1. Vellanney

    Vellanney Member

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    Does anyone else like making their characters suffer? O.o

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Vellanney, Aug 27, 2019.

    I have this thing about making my characters suffer. I kill off their parents, make them lose significant others, or just plane make them have to experience something uncomfortable. I LOVE happy ending though. So most of my characters do get happy endings, or the potential for happy endings.


    In a story I scrapped long ago, I had a character (vampire) in love with this human girl who knew about him/was saved by him. NOT twilight like. They were all kids and she got hurt & lost on a camping trip. He found her while he was practicing hunting, and helped her back home. He had to show what he was though. And they kept in touch. Anyways~ In one part I have her engaged to someone else. And he has to suffer from that. Another part is when I have her fiance question his restraint to taste her blood by slicing the girls arm open and shoving it into that guy's face.

    Currently, I have my MC's parents dead, he died, he came back but now has a LOT of people that he protects, his gf "died" but lived and came back as a bitter ex with mental issues (saved by the enemy), and also falls in love with another guy who loves him, but has no memories at all and only a name tag that makes it seem like they might be related. . . (No incest don't worry, not even cousins). But DAMN I put my characters through hell and back! o_O And I'm here just laughing and thinking of even crazier things to make them do or go through!

    Anyone else do this too? Or just me . . .
     
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  2. Phenomellama

    Phenomellama Member

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    Yes, suffering makes for good characters. Makes the character more relatable to the reader.
    I make my characters suffer hard; the universe they are in calls for it. Since I am doing a game, I have to keep the mood. Keep it heavy. As an extreme example of a developed NPC, I use a character I've had kicking around since around 2000 as a sort of 'token' character for examples. She's...she knows t he meaning of 'traumatic amputation' a bit too well. Her constant forced push into becoming less and less human over the years via body part replacement has taken a severe toll on her psyche; to keep her humanity she has essentially become a junkie. Tons of mind-altering drugs, artificial hormones, etc. litter her desk, each one of them counteracting another and instrumental in keeping her brain functioning properly after losing most of her body.
    Speaking of humanity, she is now legally an 'it' because she can no longer produce a proper mixture of estrogen and testosterone and no longer really has male/female features.
    Despite all of this, she finds time to let her old 'human' self out every once in awhile. Still has a weird sense of humor, still can sometimes muster some sort of emotion.
    She would make a bad player character because she's overpowered and this kind of character is difficult to RP without pissing off other players.
     
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  3. Vellanney

    Vellanney Member

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    @Phenomellama

    I'm glad I'm not the only one ><
     
  4. NiallRoach

    NiallRoach Contributor Contributor

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    Things can't be good for a character or there's no story but I take issue with the idea that suffering is what makes a character good. Not every character needs to be brutalised to be interesting and it's incredibly easy to go overboard when writing that way.

    There's a reason that grimdark isn't particularly popular in the mainstream. When the story is nothing but death and agony, readers get bored and quit, at least in my experience.
     
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  5. Phenomellama

    Phenomellama Member

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    That is true; in a regular story, a character that's seen nothing but suffering is usually very two-dimensional. My character is for an RPG, I put her together mostly to have something ridiculous to show that the math works. In my little world, between mining and being a part of many different PMCs, hardship is about the only thing that can be relied on, so she fits. Her medieval incarnation is actually a comedic character used to show how boring D&D is with just fighters in the party.
    She's pretty damn 2D, but that is by design. It's to show players that shallow characters are boring.

    I know where you're coming from; I've put down plenty of books because it's just too much. Grimdark on its own is very flat. But when grimdark is done right, it can be a beautiful thing. Neuromancer I think would be a good example. Gibson does a great job at painting a believable world and putting realistic characters through hell in a compelling way. There is also a book called CROW that does it well. There, characters are broken hard by being thrown headfirst into combat, and it becomes more about survival than completing any objective. This would be whatever, but these characters are fighting their own emotional vulnerability than anything. It is also fast-paced and bloody, hammering the point that in war, there are really no such things as heroics.
    Damn I love that book. I think I'm going to read it again.
     
  6. Kallisto

    Kallisto Ruler of the world... somewhere...

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    I don't necessarily like making them suffer, but I think that having the right challenges for the setting. It's hard to convince people that a character is in actual danger, if the antagonist doesn't do anything that is dangerous.

    As readers, we like to have things happen in stories. I think it's important that people know that the world isn't always smooth going. Often times you have to fight against demons at great risk to oneself.
     
  7. MusingWordsmith

    MusingWordsmith Lively Fred

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    Oh yes I love to see my characters suffer. That's the fun part of writing. >:D
     
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  8. Lilith Fairen

    Lilith Fairen Member

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    It's a pretty-common cliche for writers to enjoy making their characters suffer.

    Frankly, there's a line between "the characters are challenged and pressured as a result of the antagonistic forces against them" and "the characters constantly have horrible things happen to them and those they care about because the author thinks that's deep and edgy". Throwing contrived crap at characters purely for the sake of putting them through hell gets tiring very quickly and lessens the impact of events and setbacks that actually are significant to the story.
     
  9. DK3654

    DK3654 Almost a Productive Member of Society Contributor

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    Gotta make them S U F F E R but they eventually overcome it and it all works out okay in the end. D'awwww.
     
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  10. Mish

    Mish Active Member

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    Only if required by the story and plot development. I do not go out of my way to make my characters suffer just for the fun of it, this does not benefit the story or the reader IMO. The suffering my characters endure always result in certain outcomes for the characters or the story.
     
  11. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll "It's a messy business." :P Supporter Contributor

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    Corlixia is a recovering enhanced interrogator, that slips
    from time to time...She makes other characters suffer. :p

    I try to, but it varies with what I am writing. :)
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2019
  12. Malisky

    Malisky Mercury Retroblade Contributor

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    The best parts I enjoy in writing: Make them suffer - Deliver them. Aren't they considered the peaks in every story?
     
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  13. cosmic lights

    cosmic lights Senior Member

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    Honestly, no. Through reading I discovered I didn't like that, it felt too unrealistic. Kill parents, siblings, kids, their dog, burn down their house, shave their head and use them for a surf board...but everything will be happy in the end? Nah. There is only so much shit the human mind can take before it shuts down. Just one death can do that kind of damage to a person.

    I just find it unrealistic drama. Things can still be tough for a character without taking it to the extreme, in my opinion. Just my thoughts.
     
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  14. Odile_Blud

    Odile_Blud Active Member

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    Sometimes. Depends on the kind of story I wanna tell. Not every character needs to suffer.
     
  15. Bjørnar Munkerud

    Bjørnar Munkerud Senior Member

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    Having a character suffer is a way to show their strengths and weaknesses. It's also a more interesting story than, say, "Joe Bloggs is a regular schmo with a regular job who might have an extraordinary personality but we'll never know 'cause the most intense thing that ever happens to him is that he sometimes gets held up in traffic on the way to work.". And, yeah, the happy ending is more meaningful and rewarding for both the reader and the character if they've been through hard times, fought valiantly, been brave and had some difficult moments along the road.
     
  16. NiallRoach

    NiallRoach Contributor Contributor

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    You're absolutely right, but that fighting doesn't need to take the form of constant death and misery. Getting held up in traffic can be a perfectly fine form of conflict in the right story.
     
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  17. DK3654

    DK3654 Almost a Productive Member of Society Contributor

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    Naturally, it depends on what kind of story you're writing.
     
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  18. Moon

    Moon The Hero Of Bacon Contributor

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    Yes. A life without struggle would be incredibly boring to read.
     
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  19. Vellanney

    Vellanney Member

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    Yeah, my character breaks down hard at the end of my first book and beginning of second. Total shut out after a certain bad thing. And the three siblings I have get very shut in for a time. By happy ending I'm more like, End Game ver of happy ending. Some characters are good, others . . . not so much. A huge part of my series is mental strain and development.
     
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  20. Vellanney

    Vellanney Member

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    Yeah, exactly. My series is wrapped around war and fighting. So death is very common. You literally can't make a book about war without referring to constant death and misery.
     
  21. Vellanney

    Vellanney Member

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    I want to point out that all bad things that happen to my characters are well within the flow of the story. I like to push my characters, and get inside their heads, even if they are not the MC. When I feel like my characters are in a place that is just a little to comfortable, I like to find ways to push them out of that comfort and remind them of what is happening around them. Ways that aren't so typical or easy to figure out.
     
  22. OrdinaryJoe

    OrdinaryJoe Member Supporter

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    No one can relate to someone who has only good things happen to them. In fact, many would be put off by it. We can only measure the good parts of life by comparing them to the lows that we suffer. Same should go for any character in a good book. All reward with no risk makes something seem less valuable. Great achievements without effort come off as hollow.

    Make them suffer so they can enjoy their happy ending.
     
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  23. LoaDyron

    LoaDyron Contributor Contributor

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    Hello friend. :superhello:

    Yes, characters in my hands will suffer; if not physically they will be psychologically hurt. How can you relate to a character if he/she doesn't suffer? How can you connect with someone that doesn't experience pain? You can't. The more you hurt your characters, the more your reader will pray for their salvation, and see what will happen to them. And not to mentioo0n, characters need to be challenged to overcome something that makes them weak.
     
  24. CaffeineCat7

    CaffeineCat7 New Member

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    Suffering, for some reasons, is far easier to write than happiness in my opinion and it usually makes readers sympathize with the character. Suffering may be caused by events of the plot or character may be psychically or psychologically traumatized what makes them way more interesting.

    But there are traps. It's easy to fall in these traps, escpecially when you like your characters suffering or describe violent wars or something like that. Sometimes suffering feels forced - character suffers for the sake of suffering, their emotions aren't properly shown by the author, the reader doesn't know more about the character besides the fact they're suffering (what means that the character is badly developed by the author). My favorite mistake is when everything that is bad or traumatising happens to the character (or to every character): literally almost every catastrophe you're able to think about. Or they are never - I mean never - even in a neutral mood. As a reader, I feel very tired reading something like that and I find it very unrealistic.

    We all have ups and downs in our lives, so do our characters. I believe that in even the darkest and the most serious stories there is a place for a glimpse of hope, moment happiness or humor. It's all that world is about - happiness and suffering mixed up in different, personal proportions. Personally, I prefer rather bittersweet endings and I'm rather pessimistic, but I like writing and reading about both.
     
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  25. Jupie

    Jupie Senior Member

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    I think it makes for a better story if you do let your characters suffer a bit--or a lot. There's more meat to chew on that way. You can really relate to a character that's been through hell and back -- allows for a great deal of development and also you sympathise with them a lot more. Because you yourself may have had setbacks or challenges you can relate more to a character that's suffered and feel more at home with that person and it may even give meaning or inspiration to your own experiences. If a character never suffered, would they be very interesting? They might be nice but that would get boring fast. You can have a character who leads a simple life but still goes through different trials and tribulations. I suppose therein lies the difference between simplicity and 'nice' - one is real the other is superficial, because nobody can be nice all the time. It's just impossible.

    I believe in life we come here to learn love. And love is a very diverse and interesting thing and is usually gained through hardship and experience. That's not to say that all of life is difficult and gloomy--quite the opposite. Suffering, especially once getting to the other side, can in fact be enlightening and lead that person to a happier and more content way of living. Through suffering, we learn empathy, compassion, and ultimately love. This is beginning to sound like a religious ceremony (and I'm not religious) but I think basically life is about experiencing the good, the bad and the ugly and then eventually mellowing out. So yeah, you should definitely put your characters through the mill a bit. They'll thank you afterwards!
     
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