When I first looked through what I’d written in the past, I was kinda shocked to see I’d only written three of these so far. And that it had been quite some time since I’d written my last. And thus I write a fourth. I call the subject character death. I’ve visited the concept, fought it, been thrown into the mud with my weapon disarmed. It’s agonizing to see a character of mine fall to sacrifice, murder, or disease when they could otherwise survive, had I given them a less fatal situation. I’ve been told I must love my protagonists. This is a predicament that I want to solve, a question that I’ve been mulling over some time now.
If I love my characters to such a degree, why do I submit them to such punishment that may destroy their lives and those of their greatest passions?
I’ll use the old example, my favorite character and friend, Ken Koitsu. He has earned and adorned every bit of respect that goes his way. He’s never lost any with every sin he’s committed, because his faults have… Well, I’m told by the many people who’ve met him that his faults are “adorable.” (I’m not sure what that means either. He makes people giggle, that’s all this teenage writer knows.)
In his life, I’ve hurled Ken into the worst possible circumstances and consequences for his actions. I’ve made things worse and worse for him at nearly every turn of his thus-far lived life. Here are a couple examples of his painful experiences:
–Ken achieved status as a recognized fighter by making it into a tournament Finals, to battle one of his dear friends. There, long story short, he received an electromagnetic scar across the fore-lobe of his skull, shocking his brain and sending him into seizure and shock every time he exerts his brain intensely.
–As a teacher, his student (and nephew) accidentally shot down Ken’s current love while in the midst of protecting a magical experiment from theft. And later that week, the city’s law enforcement found him guilty of the charges “failure to act on an ally’s account.” He was imprisoned for two years before escape.
–That’s enough. I don’t want to go any further, I’d write pages of Ken’s tortures.
Needless to say, given the above, I make myself, the anxious teenager, worry about myself, the sadistic flawed writer. For lack of a better word. I understand that characters struggling against overwhelming odds is half the point of a cathartic story, and the brilliant change of fortune at the last mortal charge has so much plowing force over our greatest heroes and their stalwart defense of life. I love them. But in love, we are supposed to keep our greatest passions as far from harm as we can afford, and beyond what we believe we have. In this observation, I’ve formulated a new question. It’s uncomfortable to ask, but I’ve stumbled across it now and would like to ask for an answer, some response un-related to my beliefs.
With such love for our characters conflicting our need for great stories, might we be considered hypocritical in regards to realistic passion?
I have half a mind to continue writing, but the other half is dominant. I’m hungry, and the road awaits my beating feet for a run.