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1 Post tagged with the vonnegut tag

"Be a sadist."

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Jan 2, 2018

Today we begin with a quote from an American literary legend:

"Be a sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them - in order that the reader may see what they are made of." - Kurt Vonnegut Jr., Bagombo Snuff Box

Add to this sadistic advice what my wife recently said to me. She told me about a frustrating situation she'd recently experienced, and she finished her story by saying, "It's one of those bad situations where I guess you're supposed to learn something. I'm really tired of learning from bad situations. I'd like to learn from a good one every now and then."

Bad stuff happens. In life and in fiction, bad stuff is constantly making an appearance. That bad stuff is a useful tool in building character. That's what Vonnegut was saying. If you have a story that doesn't involve struggles and obstacles, your characters will never learn. They will never display their true selves. They will never have the opportunity to change and grow. As a writer, you are responsible for bringing bad stuff into your characters' lives. As a writer myself, I can tell you that's not always easy to do. I have become emotional for what I have had to do to various characters over the years. You probably have as well. That's a good thing. If we feel it, the readers will feel it.

As Vonnegut says, "Be a sadist." Do bad things to your characters because it's how you add dimensions to them, and it's how you advance your story.

-Richard Contributors/RidleyHeadshot_blog.jpg

Richard Ridley is an award winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

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