Making Your Characters Suffer is the Best Part

Posted Sonlight Press Author Blog, Gabby Wells - Book 1, Gabby Wells Novel, Writing

My job as the author of the Gabby Wells Thriller series is to make Gabby’s life a living hell.  And I do, relentlessly.

That’s what every author is supposed to do.  To torture the protagonist so you can torture the reader.

Do I like making Gabby’s life an insurmountable mess?  Yes and no.  I like how she grows by overcoming these insane challenges, but I don’t like having to make her suffer as much as necessary.

I wonder if God is like that?  He created us, knows what’s best for us and, if we ask for his guidance, will often lead us down a tough road full of things we’d rather not face so we can come out stronger and more holy on the other side.

During a recent production meeting, we listed a one sentence description in each book of what happens to Gabby.  It wasn’t pretty.  Poor kid.  Know that it’s all for a reason.  It’s all part of something greater.  Every one of her successes and failures is part of the plan, part of her journey.

I know I’ve had the same experience in my life.  During the middle of some great turmoil I would look to heaven and say, “God, why am I going through this?”  Then, five years later, I’d look back and see the method to his madness.  I’d see the action and reaction, the give and take, the Yes and Nos that all made me who I am and gave me the most cherished parts of my life.

When we look back on our lives, our greatest achievements are often tied to our greatest challenges.  They take the most work and require the most sacrifice.  That’s why they are so special.  That’s the way we’re wired.  The same goes for Gabby.  It’s my job to make her struggles entertaining by making them horrendously difficult.

That’s what authors do.

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