Welcome all dreamers, fantasists, bibliophiles, and romantics. Join me Mondays and Fridays for speculation about other worlds, exploration of the human heart and soul in fiction and fact, sojourns in history and science, advice and tidbits in the realms of story, and thoughts on everything in between...

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Need for Inner Turmoil and a Weighty Past

This week, I started a book that riveted me from the start, but now, more than halfway through, I find it has long lost its luster. I won’t name the book because I wish to avoid bad writer karma, but, especially in light of Wednesday’s topic, I realize more how useful some sort of difficult past can be to a hero.

It took me a few chapters past the point where the characters started losing me to figure out why. I read scenes and knew I ought to feel much for the hero, but the distance between reader and character was too much to ignore. At last, I figured out why.

Even as much as the plot’s setup is interesting, the main characters lack troubled pasts. Certainly, they went through the normal parts of life, but I lost sympathy for them. Like Mary Sues, their lives were too perfect. Yes, they had experienced some normal sorrows, but no more than that before the plot began. I suspect, just as readers tend to dislike Mary Sues, readers also have difficulty relating to and enjoying a Mary Sue past.

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