PLEASE, SIR, DON’T HURT ME

HOW TO KEEP YOUR MAIN FROM BEING A BULLY

Free Digital Photos

Free Digital Photos

So I am currently reading like 4 or 5 books. One of these is an audio book, and I won’t give you the name, though I am greatly enjoying the book.

One scene struck me as…laughable, but sad. The main character, who is in his twenties (we’ll came him Dean), is writhing on the ground in pain as this nine-year-old girl is touching him with this powerful rod that is literally draining every ounce of strength from him, and the pain is unbearable.

The little girl is laughing and scowling at him, and she’s demanding that his head be chopped off — typical princess brat type. Well here’s where it gets interesting. The author says that Dean finds some strength within himself that he did not know was there. And what does Dean do? Does he slap her? No. Does he shove her to the ground? No. What, I ask you, does he do? Read on.

Dean rises to his feet and rams his boot into the princesses’ jaw, cracking the bones, knocking her teeth out, and severing her tongue. It’s much more vivid than that, but yeah…you get it.

So I couldn’t stop myself from laughing at this for one reason: Dean is dangerous, and he must be stopped. When Dean kicks this girl in the face, he has lost his boyish hero status, and he has become a force to be reckoned with.

MY ADVICE

Don’t ever do that! We should be more meticulous about our writing, because we don’t want to create situations where our main character can been seen as a bully. I know we want to show a surge of emotion in our mains, we want to show the heat-of-the-moment reactions, and we want to show the immediacy, but in the end, there are things that the main character just can’t do, and if he does those things, then he needs to have some slither of remorse racing through his veins.

If he doesn’t, then we are in danger of creating a monster. Does a main always have to be Superman Noble? Of course not. Your main will make bad decisions, he will have faults, and he will have regrets, but that’s just it. He must have regrets. There’s nothing cool about kicking a nine-year-old girl’s face in; I don’t care what she’s done.

This is our opportunity, as writers, to become more creative in our approach on how we get this nine-year-old back. But simply hauling off and knocking the fool out of her is just not going to cut it.

Think of your story. Are there moments when you should probably scale back the main’s reaction to a situation? Does your daughter choke her grandmother? There are times when the envelope needs to be pushed, and there are times when it just needs to stay where it is.

Advertisements

9 thoughts on “PLEASE, SIR, DON’T HURT ME

  1. mariathermann

    Seems to me this writer of yours has a rather sick imagination and he must be stopped. Involving children in this kind of story line is for me always a step too far.

    If I were writing “Dean”, he’d find the strength to taunt this girl to find out things about her with the view of making her crack psychologically…she’s a kid and therefore easily distracted. She might be too skinny or too fat, have spots or an upturned nose or be poorly dressed or totally overdressed in comparison to other kids her age…children are very self-conscious and even though it might momentarily make her madder and more dangerous, it will also make her careless and dealing with his taunts means she’s less in control.This will be his chance to overpower her and seize her weapon. After that he only needs to restrain her – perhaps lock her into a closet or whatever is at the scene.

    Dean’ll still be our resourceful hero…and the girl will have been put in her place in an appropriate way.

    Actually, I was once asked to ghost-write somebody’s book and when the guy sent me his first three chapters…well, his “hero” was more sadistic monster than his villains…needless to say, I turned down the job – there’s no talking to writers of that ilk.

    Reply
    1. wstadler Post author

      Maria, I completely agree! It’s just weirdly sadistic. I understand if you want to make an anti-hero, though I still would not abuse children this way, but at least it makes a little more sense with an Anti-Hero. That said, it’s still over the top to get the kids involved. Tsk Tsk. People with pens have a responsbility….

      Reply
      1. mariathermann

        Exactly, especially since there are so many weirdos who use books, movies and TV for copy-cat purposes and commit horrible crimes.

        Our anti-hero could express his dislike for kids by saying sarcastic things to them or growl at puppies or not help little old ladies across the street, but allowing him to beat small children to a pulp says an awful lot about the writer…and makes the anti-hero so ridiculous in our eyes, we don’t care about his fate and probably can’t wait before he gets his just deserves.

        Reply
  2. juliehhicks

    “Dean rises to his feet…cracking the bones, knocking her teeth out, and severing her tongue. It’s much more vivid than that, but…” Wowzers, the author’s description is MORE graphic? Don’t mess with Dean! πŸ˜›

    Reply
  3. Pingback: I HATE HIM! | William Stadler - Fantasy Author

Please Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s