Who Can You Make Suffer the Most?

When beginning a new story, take some time to consider who would hate you the most for putting them in this particular situation. (image credit: microsoft clipart)

Yesterday, I wrote about making your character suffer.  Today, I’m going to write on a similar theme — who can you torment the most.

Sometimes when you are brainstorming story ideas, you come up with your character first.  As you develop your character, you find their story and up the tension by finding the most horrible thing you can do to them.

Other times you come up with the story idea first.   A village is invaded by barbarian raiders who kidnap only one child before retreating into the wilderness.  To make your story the best story it can be, you have to make some decisions regarding your character.  What character would suffer the most from being snatched?

If you make your character an orphan whose lot in the village has been down right awful, being snatched might just be a blessing.  But if your character has led a cushy life, is about ready to gain something for which they have been working a very long time, or has a big secret they need to keep hidden from the marauders, your story will be much more interesting.

So the next time you come up with a story premise but don’t have a character, think about who would suffer the most in this situation.  It won’t win you any “nice girl” awards, but it will win you readers.

–SueBE

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