Sunday, July 31, 2011

Stand by Your Man...Well, Not Always

The typical romance starts with boy and girl apart. Incredible obstacles litter their path. The trail grows more and more difficult. A happily ever after gets harder and harder to imagine. Yet miraculously, they manage to maneuver each and every one of those obstacles to find happiness -- together.

But what happens when we make those obstacles too hard for the reader to get past them? Sometimes the line gets blurred between one of the characters going almost to the edge and when they have actually gone over the edge into hell.

I unknowingly took my characters too close to that edge in one of the first few stories I wrote. The editor didn't find it too close, nor did I. But after reading a particularly scathing review I realized that I actually agreed with the reviewer (who hated the story because one character's transgressions were too great to be forgiven). I can tell you that I never made that mistake again. You can write yourself into a hole as long as you can make your characters legitimately and believably crawl out of that hole.

Ultimately, the line between what's forgivable and what is not is eye of the reader, although some things are never okay to forgive -- physical abuse, for example. But where is your line? And have you ever read a book that allowed the characters to cross that line? Did you hate the book? Curse the author? I want to know.


Paige Tyler said...

I agree there are definitely some things that characters could do that would be unforgivable. Abusing women, children and animals. Cold-blooded murder. Rape. Cheating on the heroine. Same goes in real life.


Dalton Diaz said...

I made the same mistake! It wasn't caught until it hit the FLE, & by then I lost my initial release date. Still, it was stopped before publication, & I'm grateful. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the characters that we lose sight of some basics, like if we would forgive the same act in reality.

Wynter Daniels said...

Paige - Yeah, those would definitely be unforgivable. But it can also be something more subtle, which mine was.

Dalton - thanks - Now I don't feel so alone;-) Good point, I can get lost in the characters or the plot.