By L.M. Brown (Guest Blogger)
When it comes to torture I am of the firm opinion that many of us could rival the Marquis de Sade when it comes to inflicting pain on our characters.
Unlike most conventional torturers, we use nothing more than our overactive imaginations and the written word to put our characters through hell.
There are authors who write about actual torture in the sense of whips and chains, sometimes with a mind to actually causing their character physical pain, as opposed to having a little fun in the bedroom, dungeon playroom, or wherever else the mood takes them, but I’m not talking about those.
Nor am I talking about those authors who write about the BDSM genre, where the submissive in the relationship wants to feel the snap of the whip against their body.
No, I am here to chat about how we, as authors, regularly drag out characters through hell for your entertainment.
Firstly there are those of us who make sure to inflict some emotional crisis on a character. You know the type – the brief moment of happiness, right before it all goes to hell – and the long struggle back to the happy land of romantic bliss.
Then there are those who cause our poor characters to have accidents, adding physical pain to the abuse we heap on them.
Many authors even go the extra step and inflict an illness on our characters, preferably something potentially life-threatening, though of course a good author could give most male characters the common cold, have them profess to be dying and make it believable. “It’s not a cold, it’s the flu. It’s not a migraine, it’s a brain tumour.” I’m sure you all know someone like that!
We don’t just make the characters suffer through the regular day to day hassles either. Oh no, those of us who venture into the paranormal genre quickly discover we can add even more torture on our characters when we give it a little thought.
The possibilities are endless. If you think your character isn’t suffering enough, make sure they are. You have a werewolf character who has it a little too cushy? Why not make the monthly transformation one of utter pain?
Death won’t stop the Torture
If a character has it way too easy, an angel with immortality on their side for example, let’s strip them of their wings and make them mortal. If you’re really cruel you can kill them off too. After all, as an author in the paranormal genre you can always bring them back again. Why should their torture end with their death?
Benji, a character from my very first published story was a ghost throughout the book. Having him die a virgin was probably one of my cruellest moments, though ensuring he and his lover could only touch one night a year runs at a close second.
Emotional pain, physical pain, a combination of them both, the possibilities are endless, and as authors we pull out all the stops when we put our characters through the ringer.
But why do we do it?
Well, dear readers, we do it for you, of course. Hmm, I wonder if that makes you accessories to our crime of character torture…
In my opinion, making those characters work for their happy ever afters means a better story than if everything was easy right from the start. If something is worth having, then it’s worth working and fighting for. When it comes to my characters, they certainly do need to earn their happy endings.
Zak, the alien half of my latest novel is certainly tortured a lot more than most. You see Zak has never had a human body or human emotions before. Oh the fun I had with that possibility.
I went out of my way to inflict on him every emotion I could – the good and the bad. I even added more for extra variety during one of the rounds of edits. After all, if he wants to have a happy ever after with the love of his life then he needs to know all about human emotions. Yep, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!
And as if that wasn’t enough, I also had a great deal of fun in introducing Zak to his new human body and the various possibilities that are now open to him. When you come from a race of beings who are reproduced in laboratories rather than through sex, having a body with parts that seem to have a mind of their own, brings a completely new set of problems with it.
Read on below for a short excerpt of just how Zak handles getting his first erection.
Yes, I am cruel to my characters, and I hope my readers agree that we wouldn’t want it any other way.
Zak, an alien from the planet Trimmeron, is a member of a race of beings who transform into other species during their years of puberty. It’s customary for the youngsters to be fostered to the worlds native to their new forms, to study and learn about the races who will play an important part in their lives.
When Zak turns into a human, it comes as a surprise to everyone, for only one other before him has ever done so. Nevertheless he is sent to Earth, a world he views as primitive and barbaric. He arrives with a chip on his shoulder and attitude to spare. He does not believe that anyone on Earth could have anything to teach him.
When Zak meets college student Sam he soon discovers he has a lot to learn, not only about humans, but also about himself.
Trapped on an unfamiliar world and in a strange body that seems to have a mind of its own, Zak has no idea what is happening to him—only that Sam seems to be the key to the strange afflictions he is suffering from.
But can an alien find love with a human being?
The lights were already down when they made their way to a pair of seats near the back of the room. Sam sat down first and Zak took the seat near the aisle.
“You’ll really enjoy this,” Sam whispered as the big screen in front of them played a commercial for some kind of vehicle.
Zak whispered back to Sam that he was sure he would.
As the film played on the screen, Zak began to feel rather strange. There was something happening down there and it was totally out of his control. He shifted in his seat and tried to change his position so it wasn’t as obvious.
Sam laughed at something happening up on the big screen in front of them. The sound sent a zing right through Zak’s body, culminating in an uncomfortable tightening of his jeans. This had been happening to him quite a lot recently, but not to this extent.
Zak tried to concentrate on the movie, but it wasn’t holding his attention as it had before. His awareness of Sam heightened with every minute.
“Are you okay?” Sam whispered.
Zak groaned as Sam’s warm breath against his ear added to the problem down below.
“Fine,” Zak hissed.
Sam took him at his word and dipped his hand into the big tub of popcorn. At the touch of Sam’s fingers brushing against his own, hidden in the confectionery, Zak sank even lower into his seat as he tried to figure out what was happening to him.
Sam put a handful of popcorn into his mouth and started to chew. When Sam placed a hand on Zak’s thigh the pain in his groin became unbearable and he shot up from his seat. “I’ve got to go,” he said, causing several other people in the cinema to shush at him.
He didn’t wait for Sam to reply. He grabbed his jacket and bolted for the exit.
Available from Totally Bound
By the time this post goes live it will also be available at Amazon, All Romance Ebooks, Barnes & Noble and other online stores.
L.M. Brown lives in England, in a quaint little village that time doesn't seem to have touched. No, wait a minute—that's the retirement biography. Right now she is in England in a medium sized town that no one has ever heard of, so she won't bore you with the details. Keeping her company are numerous sexy men. She just wishes that they weren't all inside her head.
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