D is for Drama!

Drama! Drama! Drama!

It’s what writers are here for. It’s what readers read for.

Of course, it can be hard to watch characters suffer….especially hard if we really like them. We want them happy, for pity’s sake. We want them to triumph. We don’t want to see their hearts get broken. We don’t want to see their houses burn or watch them get bitten by zombies or be falsely accused of killing the king. (Anyone a Game of Thrones fan? Oh, the agony!!!! At the end of some episodes, don’t you feel like you might need therapy?)

But let’s face it. If characters don’t suffer, it’s….boring.


So writers have to torture their characters. We have to steal away their dreams, throw boulders in their paths, and chase them into crocodile-infested swamps. Because that’s the stuff of which good stories are made.

We have to make our characters fight for every last scrap they get. If we do it right, the ultimate happy ending will be all the sweeter for being earned.

Which, by the way, is a lesson about life that we can all take to heart.

What about you: how do you feel when characters you love get thrown a nasty curve-ball? Would you rather just watch them be happy all the time?

(source for cartoon:  http://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/four-undramatic-plot-structures)

10 responses to “D is for Drama!

  1. It took me a long time to realize I avoided conflict in my stories the way I did in real life, which was why they had no drama. Characters simply went from task to task. Once I added conflict, the drama was on! And my stories actually became interesting! 😉

    • That’s the old saying, isn’t it, about the trick to storytelling? “Send your character up a tree. Throw rocks at him.”

  2. What a fun post, Lara! I love the idea that we put our characters through hells that we can’t put real people through. 🙂

    • And the best part is, we get to bring them through the trouble stronger, and give them a happy ending to boot!

  3. Great post, Lara! As a reader, I’m always biting my nails worrying how the hero/heroine will get out of the trouble the author has placed them in. As an author, it’s fun to get characters in trouble–but sometimes can be hard to figure how to get them out of it! 🙂

    • Oh, yes, I’ve done a LOT of nail-biting in my day. I always want to solve the problem for them….but I wouldn’t care about them half so much if they never faced trouble in the first place.

    • Indeed! My son just loves to create drama anywhere he can. I told him once that drama is fun, but could he try to avoid drama that causes other people to get upset. “But, Mom,” he told me, “that’s what drama *is*!!”

  4. How true that is, Lara! And especially hard if an author prefers to avoid confrontation in real life. Of course, sometimes putting your characters through hell can be good therapy… 😉

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