I am so hard on my characters. I was once actually begged…or maybe demanded…to stop inflicting strife upon a particular creation of mine; a lovely young lady who had been through Hell with the love of her life already. I saw them through that (in spectacular fashion, I must say) and was determined to take them through another ordeal almost immediately when I was chastised for it.
Was it because I based the character on myself and, since I wasn’t happy at the time, she couldn’t be? Or maybe that’s just a God Complex for you. I have to admit that stopping was the right thing to do, though. Taking several steps back to give my character a break made the finished work much nicer to read and I learned a lesson in the process. Writing isn’t just about what I want, though I do need to be happy with the finished product. I do also have to take my readers into consideration as well. As a reader, I would have been upset at the treatment of a very likeable character, and may not have finished reading the work.
Don’t get me wrong – I won’t always play into the hands of, “Happily Ever After,” but neither will I succumb to, “Messed Up For The Hell of It” so often, particularly when it’s unnecessary and brings nothing to the story.
It’s funny, though…there are two endings to my current novel, and both will be presented to the beta readers to decide which is better in terms of the overall story. I see merit in both of them, otherwise, there’d be no choice to make. I won’t describe the nature of those endings because my beta readers also read this blog, and I don’t want to give too much away prematurely. I will say that I’d be happy with either choice.