When the time comes to edit, and I have to pour over my manuscript with an eye for the minutiae, I need music that keeps me from throwing my keyboard or getting in such a bad mood I start needlessly deleting content. This music is always Rachmaninoff, because Russians are really good at doing “sad” and hearing Sergei’s “sad” makes me feel a little better about editing.
And everyone knows, a good villain is worth twice their body-weight in death rays.
BUT lo, there is a critical mass of character pain, after which you, dear author, will begin to look more and more like a sadistic bastard and the novel will become less and less enjoyable. You are drowning your plants in fertilizer.
Character pain sounds like a bad thing, and it is. Audiences don’t like it, writers don’t like writing it (the empathetic human beings among us, that is), but nothing could be more quintessential to high quality entertainment.
In order to avoid betraying my utter ignorance, I’ll speak in vague generalities: if you’re walking or running efficiently, your body works a bit like a pendulum, swinging (not forcing) itself forward. I feel that I could run or walk for hours and never get tired when I’m running or walking in that ‘groove’. One long hill later and I have a different idea, but let’s not focus on that right now.
Dear n00b social media adventurer, the lands of Facebook are plagued with bad videos and oversharing. It is your solemn duty to post something funny, witty, and concise, and acquire 10 likes. Good luck.
As for the writing process, understanding this spectrum and pinpointing where your characters fall is a great tool that you can use to explore the nature of your work or your character more deeply.
If your writing doesn’t make you squirm in the best of ways, then you’re doing something wrong.
Needless to say, juggling the two roles is going to be difficult. They’re two sides of the author-coin. Why, cruel world, do you insist I use both hemispheres of my brain?!?
I think that Stephen King is a good author-ly voice to heed. He certainly knows how it’s done–he can buy all the groceries he wants, now! In fact, I think he’s hit the nail on the head. The nail is the problem, of course. And King might have been defining success, but I believe he’s actually defining the issue many aspiring “writers” face: bein’ considered legit. Street credit, if you follow.