August 23, 2019, 03:25:31 PM

Author Topic: Writers that shit on their characters.  (Read 7081 times)

Offline Nighteyes

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Re: Writers that shit on their characters.
« Reply #30 on: February 26, 2019, 12:23:41 AM »
Always crazy to see a thread full of regulars who haven't been online for quite a while. Imagine @Jian being an adult now! ;D

What happened to Devildare? His threads were so random.
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Offline Ryan Mueller

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Re: Writers that shit on their characters.
« Reply #31 on: February 28, 2019, 08:28:36 PM »
This kind of thing can grow exhausting after a while, especially if you really like the character and want to see them find at least a little happiness. I'll also admit that I can be guilty of it as a writer. I'm so horrible to one character in one of my series, that I actually begin to poke fun at it later in the series.

The key to this kind of thing is that you need to balance out the horrible things with a few good things for your characters.

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Re: Writers that shit on their characters.
« Reply #32 on: March 31, 2019, 04:01:03 AM »
Joe Abercrombie. Having finished the First Law Trilogy, he's going into my list of writers whose work I avoided like the plague along with Brent Weeks now.

Offline Rostum

Re: Writers that shit on their characters.
« Reply #33 on: April 02, 2019, 05:05:08 AM »
Adrian Selby is none to gentle with his and puts them in out of control situations and positions of helplessness.

Offline Magnus Hedén

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Re: Writers that shit on their characters.
« Reply #34 on: April 02, 2019, 09:30:45 AM »
I think part of this is about taste. I have found that people read for vastly different reasons (and sometimes the same person wants different things at different times, of course). I read mainly for a good story, so I care less about how much a character suffers as long as it makes sense. I've read the First Law trilogy and loved it, and I never felt like it was "suffering porn", i.e. characters getting the short end of the stick for the sake of it. It's set in a harsh and unfair world, and a lot of the characters are well aware of that. Those books are all about people playing with the shitty hands they were dealt. I get that not everyone wants to read that, but in Abercrombie's case, I don't think he's overdoing it.
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Offline G_R_Matthews

Re: Writers that shit on their characters.
« Reply #35 on: April 10, 2019, 01:20:18 PM »
Characters have to put through the meat grinder, they have to be dragged to the very edge of endurance and the villain/situation must place a light touch on their shoulder; will they fall or will they hang on. Heroes hang on, in books at least, and that will to survive, to win and do the right thing is what makes them the characters we love...

... or it is all;

Gerald went to the store to buy a cabbage, realised he'd forgotten his wallet, went home and got it, bought a cabbage.

No tension, no conflict, no struggle to overcome.

Having said that Becky Chambers rarely does any of those things and her books are great!
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Offline Magnus Hedén

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Re: Writers that shit on their characters.
« Reply #36 on: April 10, 2019, 02:24:18 PM »
Having said that Becky Chambers rarely does any of those things and her books are great!

What Becky Chambers books have you been reading?

I think the difference is more in her writing style, because her characters go through some pretty tough times. I'd say a big difference is that her characters tend to have someone around for emotional support, which is often lacking in -- for example -- Abercrombie's tales. His characters tend more often to be rugged loners who don't trust anyone else or are close-mouthed about their suffering (probably because they inhabit a world where most would consider unloading emotionally a weakness).
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Offline Peat

Re: Writers that shit on their characters.
« Reply #37 on: April 10, 2019, 03:18:04 PM »
Characters have to put through the meat grinder, they have to be dragged to the very edge of endurance and the villain/situation must place a light touch on their shoulder; will they fall or will they hang on. Heroes hang on, in books at least, and that will to survive, to win and do the right thing is what makes them the characters we love...

... or it is all;

Gerald went to the store to buy a cabbage, realised he'd forgotten his wallet, went home and got it, bought a cabbage.

No tension, no conflict, no struggle to overcome.

Having said that Becky Chambers rarely does any of those things and her books are great!

There's some wildly different standards though; by a lot of grimdark's lights, the guys from those Epic 80s fantasy quests did more or less pop down to the store to buy a cabbage.

I mean, compare and contrast (spoilers for Belgariad/Tamuli, WoT, SoIaF:

Spoiler for Hiden:
Belgarion - Minor identity crisis when he realises he's not a Sendar, slightly traumatised by burning a guy to death (but gets to atone for it in his own head), put out a bit by becoming a King/marrying a woman he loves anyway, spends a book worrying about whether he actually fight a god, sees his best friend killed (but brings him back to life), has his son kidnapped for most of a series, everything ends happily with him as a King with lots of kids on the way.

Rand Al'Thor - Minor identity crisis when he realises he's not from the Three Rivers, gets magic powers that make him heavily stigmatised/will drive him insane, gets told he will straight up die for most of the series, receives a never-healing wound to the side of his torso, hears voices in his head, sees a bunch of friends die (but brings them back to life), is magically bonded against his will, is tortured repeatedly, loses a hand, shoulders the stress of leading the entire world, is so traumatised he threatens his adoptive father, and eventually his happily ever after is to get to go back to being no one again (dunno if he ever gets to visit his wives)

Jon Snow - Does actually die. Also holds the only woman he ever loved (up to that point) in his arms as she dies. Has to watch from a distance as his more or less entire family is killed. Shorter list (could be longer), but quite nasty.

There's meat grinders and there's meat grinders.

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Re: Writers that shit on their characters.
« Reply #38 on: April 12, 2019, 07:51:46 AM »
Characters have to put through the meat grinder, they have to be dragged to the very edge of endurance and the villain/situation must place a light touch on their shoulder; will they fall or will they hang on. Heroes hang on, in books at least, and that will to survive, to win and do the right thing is what makes them the characters we love...

... or it is all;

Gerald went to the store to buy a cabbage, realised he'd forgotten his wallet, went home and got it, bought a cabbage.

No tension, no conflict, no struggle to overcome.

Having said that Becky Chambers rarely does any of those things and her books are great!

There's some wildly different standards though; by a lot of grimdark's lights, the guys from those Epic 80s fantasy quests did more or less pop down to the store to buy a cabbage.

I mean, compare and contrast (spoilers for Belgariad/Tamuli, WoT, SoIaF:

Spoiler for Hiden:
Belgarion - Minor identity crisis when he realises he's not a Sendar, slightly traumatised by burning a guy to death (but gets to atone for it in his own head), put out a bit by becoming a King/marrying a woman he loves anyway, spends a book worrying about whether he actually fight a god, sees his best friend killed (but brings him back to life), has his son kidnapped for most of a series, everything ends happily with him as a King with lots of kids on the way.

Rand Al'Thor - Minor identity crisis when he realises he's not from the Three Rivers, gets magic powers that make him heavily stigmatised/will drive him insane, gets told he will straight up die for most of the series, receives a never-healing wound to the side of his torso, hears voices in his head, sees a bunch of friends die (but brings them back to life), is magically bonded against his will, is tortured repeatedly, loses a hand, shoulders the stress of leading the entire world, is so traumatised he threatens his adoptive father, and eventually his happily ever after is to get to go back to being no one again (dunno if he ever gets to visit his wives)

Jon Snow - Does actually die. Also holds the only woman he ever loved (up to that point) in his arms as she dies. Has to watch from a distance as his more or less entire family is killed. Shorter list (could be longer), but quite nasty.

There's meat grinders and there's meat grinders.

Yeah, and I mean I knew enough people here on the forums to know who had similar tastes to me and I should listen to them for recommendations and who doesn't now, so I'm doing well. Never again going to buy an entire trilogy right off the bat, though.

Offline G_R_Matthews

Re: Writers that shit on their characters.
« Reply #39 on: April 12, 2019, 05:10:19 PM »

What Becky Chambers books have you been reading?


All of them  :)

There's a slice of life quality to her stories - characters are growing up, changing their social lives, relationships and moving on. There is emotional growth, maturing and while they face up to problems, difficulties the degree of danger, physical harm is not the same as some other books mentioned as putting characters through the wringer. I hesitate to say this, but they are more realistic than some books mentioned - the wringer is more easily identifiable.

Which is, if nothing else, my opinion :)
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Offline tebakutis

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Re: Writers that shit on their characters.
« Reply #40 on: April 12, 2019, 05:43:11 PM »

What Becky Chambers books have you been reading?


All of them  :)

There's a slice of life quality to her stories - characters are growing up, changing their social lives, relationships and moving on. There is emotional growth, maturing and while they face up to problems, difficulties the degree of danger, physical harm is not the same as some other books mentioned as putting characters through the wringer. I hesitate to say this, but they are more realistic than some books mentioned - the wringer is more easily identifiable.

Which is, if nothing else, my opinion :)

I really enjoyed The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet and agree with all of this. Ms. Chambers is a very talented writer and she makes what would otherwise be the mundane events of her character's lives fascinating. No need for a big bad - just people dealing with the stuff people deal with (in spaaaaaaaace!)

Offline Magnus Hedén

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Re: Writers that shit on their characters.
« Reply #41 on: April 13, 2019, 07:11:35 AM »
I love the Wayfarers books but I don't agree that the characters aren't put through some pretty rough times. Sure it's not the constant torture of some grimdark, but I'm saying it's her voice and how she presents her characters that make the bigger difference.
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