Time to Be Mean

Hello Christian writers, and welcome to this week’s writing tip. Hope you are well and enjoying your writing!

Today’s writing tip is on the subject of being mean. Brutal, even! We looked at this in our Meet-Up Course last month.

If you are a nice person, you won’t want awful things to happen to the people you like. In fact, you will try to prevent anything bad from happening, if you can.

How about the characters in your novel, though?

Let’s suppose you are writing about a girl who needs to get to the ball to meet her prince. If everything goes well as she’s getting ready, her family wave her off, she arrives in plenty of time and meets her prince… where is the story? 🙂

Soooo, you need to be mean to your characters, even the nicest ones!

getting ready for the ball

What could you do to make your girl’s story a bit more interesting? Well, she could have a hateful family who want to stop her getting to the ball, and so lock her in her room. OK, that’s been done… What else could you do to her? There could be a blizzard outside. The transport might not turn up. She could have nothing to wear. The cat could tear up her hat, or pee on her ballgown. She could lose her make-up, fall down the stairs and break a leg, snap the heel off her shoes… she could be told she’s ugly, and so decides not to go, or be too frightened to make it out of the door… The possibilities, as they say, are endless. Poor girl! Still, you will bring it all round to a great conclusion in the end, won’t you? Even if she doesn’t make the ball, I’m sure you can find another way for her to meet her prince. 🙂

The point is, you do sometimes have to do dreadful, awful things to people in your stories, to make it a good story. The greater the trouble and misery, the greater the joy when they reach their goal. So don’t be frightened of being mean.

Janet Wilson
Janet Wilson

Do you shy away from giving your protagonist a hard time? Do you think you could make life harder for her/him? Would it make a better story if you did?

Let me know your thoughts!



P.S. If you ever have anything you’re stuck with, why not come over to our facebook page and share it? Always lovely to hear from you, and the community might be able to give you some ideas!




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