Movie quote to reflect upon while reading this post (plus, this is one of my hubby's favorite movies, and I love it when he quotes it, so I had to share :) !!)
"...you gotta get mean. I mean plumb, mad-dog mean. ‘Cause if you lose your head and you give up then you neither live nor win.” --The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976)
We have two months left before the deadline to pay for my daughter's pre-school in the fall. But we haven't paid yet.
Because said stubborn daughter refuses to sit on the potty to go number two. And she can't go to pre-school unless she's completely potty trained, so...we've been forcing the issue lately, trying pretty much everything to get her adjusted to this new way of life before the end of June.
And I gotta tell you, I suck at this. I'm a total push over. My husband can stand there and make her sit while she's screaming and crying, begging to get off the potty, but I just melt and start crying too. I can't handle to see her so upset. I want her to do it on her own without any prodding, but time is running short.
I gotta get mean!
I think I'm having similar problems with my book peeps. My problem with them isn't to coax them to go to the bathroom, of course, but it's forcing them to do things they hate.
A blog I recently read talked about a book the blogger had critiqued. She said it had amazing writing and wonderful characters but the plot was something like "boy meets girl, they have a great time together, fall in love, and life happily every after." Which is great but, yeah, really boring.
Every story need problems, conflict, TORTURE to make it worth our readers' time.
Just like I shouldn't let my kiddo get off the potty to poop, I shouldn't let my characters have anything they want without a huge, uphill, awful, painful, angst-ridden battle. But it's just so hard to keep their happiness away from them. I love them all. I want to give them rainbows and sunshine all the time.
It is a constant struggle for me to torture my book characters. I guess I could be all smug and snooty and say, "I'm just too nice; that's my problem," but in this instance. Nice is bad. Here is where I..."gotta be mean, I mean plumb, mad-dog mean."
And so, that is my goal in my next book: to try to be meaner to my fictional creations!
Have you been mean enough to your characters lately?