Thursday, June 12, 2014

Making Your Characters Suffer by Terri Weldon

Terri Weldon
Hi everyone! I’m excited to be joining the Seriously Write team as a regular contributor. Thanks to Dora Hiers's gracious invitation, I’ll be visiting with you on the second Thursday of each month.

Dora holds a special place in my heart. When I joined the Pelican Author Loop, she befriended me and offered me an opportunity to be a guest blogger. Her kindness and generosity is something I’ll never forget.


As authors we all know our characters are going to have to suffer, regardless of the genre. Now I’ll be the first to admit I have a problem putting my precious creation through the wringer. I’m an easy going person who enjoys a peaceable life and I like to get along with others. My grandmother called it playing pretty. But guess what happens when your characters play pretty? You’ve got it, they become b-o-r-i-n-g!

How often have you heard someone say they wanted a fairy tale romance? Take a minute and think about that statement. Because unless things have changed since I was a little girl in a faraway land (and time), those poor princesses suffered. One little girl had a wicked stepmother who treated her like a slave. She even locked her up to keep her from attending a ball. Another young woman was trapped in a castle with a beast. A third girl is cursed and falls into a deep sleep and can only be awakened by true love’s kiss. Hmm, now I don’t know about you, but I don’t think that’s the kind of romance I’m looking for in real life. And certainly not what I’m wanting for my heroine. I brought her to life and I want her to find a good man who will love and cherish her.

However, a romance between a nice young man and a sweet young girl wouldn’t be any fun to read. In fact, your reader might find it boring, start to yawn, and place it on the nightstand. And if your reader happens to be an editor – watch out – because a good editor will realize it isn’t a publishable book.

Let me give you an example. In real life, Dora’s welcoming spirit and invitation to be a guest on Seriously Write was wonderful. In a novel she would need to pretend to befriend me and then strike my computer with a virus so I couldn’t blog on any site. As the heroine I would have a laptop as a backup and be convinced I could overcome this obstacle. But when I whip my laptop out, I discover it has been smashed to smithereens by our villainess. It would look like all was lost and I wouldn’t be able to overcome. At the last moment, I would stumble upon my sister’s tablet and post my article, exposing our villainess, and dazzling the world with my masterful writing. My prince charming would offer me a three book contract along with a three carat diamond. Much more fun to read about!

I had this problem myself last month. Things were going a little too smoothly in a Christmas novella I recently finished. So I went back and made my heroine suffer. She’s a tomboy and she wanted to look like a lady. The poor girl, she ended up humiliated. My hope is that readers will root for her to be accepted like she is and at the same time realize they don’t need to pretend to be anything other than who God created them to be.

So how about you – do you like to make your characters suffer or do you find it hard to be mean to them? What about when you are reading? Do you enjoy a book where the heroine or hero is put through the wringer? Leave a comment and tell me about some of the problems you’ve had making your story people suffer. Also, I’d love it if you would share a few tips on how you have successfully upped the ante on your characters suffering throughout your novel. 

Purchase Link
Misty Winslow is determined to find her prince, and she meets the man of her dreams through an Internet dating service. Or is he, because the new dentist in town also sets her heart aflutter.

It's love at first sight for Tyler Davenport, but before he can finish his first root canal, Misty is involved in an exclusive online romance with Wes99—Tyler’s online persona. How can he tell her he’s the man she’s been waiting to meet, and how rational is it for him to be jealous of Wes99! Soon Tyler's pulling out all the stops to woo Misty.

As Christmas approaches, Wes99 and Tyler both ask her to meet them under the mistletoe. Which man will she choose?

Terri Weldon is a lead analyst by day and an author by night. She enjoys gardening, reading, and playing in the hand bell choir. One of her favorite pastimes is volunteering as the librarian at her church. It allows her to shop for books and spend someone else’s money! Plus, she has the great joy of introducing people to Christian fiction. She lives with her family in Oklahoma. Terri has three dogs – a lovable mutt and two adorable Westies. Terri is a member of ACFW and OCFW, a local chapter of ACFW. Her dream of becoming a published novelist came true in November 2013 when Mistletoe Magic, released from White Rose Publishing. To learn more about Terri visit her website at