Thursday, October 24, 2013

Baby Evil Writers 101: How Candy is like Stories

Baby Evil Writers 101: How Candy is Like Stories
Julie Butcher

It is almost Halloween minions. Rejoice! Now, not only do you have lovely costumed beasties running about the neighborhood to inspire you to greater heights of writing evil, you have CANDY!

Sugar, sugar, sugar, sugar suuuuuuuuuuggggggaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

I’ve been thinking a lot about candy lately. (Okay, I do anyway but especially now that it is time to trick or treat.) And what I’ve figured out is that the lovely evil that is candy is a lot like working on your manuscript.

“Pish-tosh,” you say? Well, I am evil, and I can hear you, and you should be very afraid right now. It is so like candy. The reason your words are like chocolaty goodness is that after too many, we begin to feel ill. That’s right, as sick as a dog. Baby evil writers tend to hammer a point so hard that it sticks out the other side of the manuscript.

Plot points are lovely things until they turn into a railroad spike that you drive through my head. Most generally, readers are a smart bunch of cookies. When the bad guy kicks a dog, we know he is bad. Your main character should know he’s bad. Your hero should immediately PUNCH HIM IN THE FACE FOR KICKING A DOG. We don’t need him to pontificate on why it is a terrible thing to hurt animals.

Unless your target reading group is high functioning sociopaths, they get it. Don’t kill the flow of your scenes by stopping to explain the motives behind punching a bad guy in the face. You do not have to justify your hero’s actions.

Another reason your words are candy is that too much of a good thing is always bad. We tend to like our hero. We want him to be happy.  This is lovely and boring. Torture your darlings my evil minions. Give them just a minute glimpse of happy before the next big bad comes and kicks them in the teeth.

You may get your candy now but he doesn’t get any until the end of the book.

1 comment:

  1. Very good points. Understatement is a skill that needs learned by all writers.

    As far as torturing our heroes, don't take it too far or readers will threaten to do nasty things to you. I know.


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