Wednesday, March 16, 2011
LEARNING TO BE MEAN OR, NO MORE MRS. NICE GUY
I have a serious problem. I'm too nice.
You see, I was raised to "Be nice," and "Don't talk back," and "If you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything," and "Don't get dirty." Also, I'm Canadian and frankly, we are very polite.
This attitude sucks when it comes to my stories. Because I don't want my characters to suffer. I don't want anything bad to happen to them. I want to take the roadblocks out of their way and kiss their booboos. And the thought of actually--perish the thought--hurting them makes my stomach clench.
This is not good. I mean, characters have to suffer. They have to overcome obstacles and hardships, the harder the better. Right? After all, who wants to read a story where everything goes well and then they live happily ever after?
Writing has become a constant struggle between my "nice" nature and my story's needs.
I've tried to change. When I turned 40, I decided it was time to fight back against the Mrs.-Nice-Guy Syndrome. Time I stood up for myself. Spoke out when I had an opinion. Stared down my adversaries, if I could find any.
I've been working at it for years but I still apologize to the server when I send a dish back.
Well, this nice thing is going to stop. It's time to get a little dirty. There won't be any more Mrs. Nice Guy here. Not for my characters. And if some of that meanness spills over into my life, well, just stay out of my way and no one will get hurt.
In my next post, I'll let you know how my efforts to become evil are going. I figure I have to be at least as bad as my bad guys to do what needs doing to my characters.