Monday, January 9, 2012

Can you be TOO mean to your MC?

Hello! I'm finally making my way back to the blogging world after a lovely hiatus. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and New Year.

I had an opportunity this past weekend to meet a fellow blogging buddy. I got to have lunch with Sarah Ahiers! (waves Hi, Sarah!) We noshed and chatted about about writing groups, querying, and the overall path of a writer. It was so much fun that instead of going to the gym after, I went home and sat down to work on my book. Thanks, Sarah, for the wonderful company!

I watched ABC's Once Upon A Time marathon on New Year's Day and then the newest episode last night. In a very big nutshell, the main character, Emma, moves to a small town in Maine where everyone is someone from a fairy tale trapped in time compliments of the Evil Queen's spell. The townspeople have no idea they are fairy tale characters and the town is governed by the Evil Queen who is posing as the mayor. Emma is our hero who is trying to free all the characters.
Cast of Once Upon A Time

Like I said, that was a nutshell.

Anyway. The Mayor/Queen is an amazing antagonist. Clearly evil, but at the same time, you can't help but feel slightly sad for her plight. Yet, in last night's episode, I couldn't help but feel frustrated with the show's writers. Yes, bad things have to happen to the main character in order for her to triumph over evil.

But have you ever felt like sometimes, too many bad things happen to your favorite character? In the short life of Once, people have died, people have been betrayed, laid off, and overall abused by the Mayor. As a viewer, I can't help but feel like something good has to happen, and soon.

The theme of last night's episode dealt with good winning over evil. But how much does evil have to win over good to drive home the point? At this point, I'm half tempted to stop watching the show until the episodes are all online and finish the season in one marathon viewing because this is getting ridiculous.

Have you ever read a story or watched a show where the bad things seemed to be too much that you found yourself losing interest?


  1. I actually had to stop reading the Dresden series by Jim Butcher because of this problem. There was so little payoff to good winning over assholes and bad guys. It was 300 pages of wizard Harry Dresden getting beat all over the place and about 10 pages of him wrapping everything up and sort of triumphing. Sort of being important because often when he does win, he doesn't really. I found this emotionally unsatisfying very quickly. We need ups and downs in order to feel invested in characters. Even before Darth Vadar and the Emporer were overtaken, Luke and Han still won a few battles and gradually weakened Team Evil. There were still kisses and hope and best friends and joyful moments and muppets.

    I totally understand what you mean about Once Upon a Time too. I'm loving the show but now I'm starting to get antsy for a little good guy satisfaction.

    Also, Happy New Year!

  2. I haven't watched the most recent Once Upon a Time but I know exactly what you mean! I still love the show, but it does get to be too much. They move one step forward and then 5 steps back. I want some good, but then I did watch Lost for many years. I'm still going to stick around though. I'm a gluten for punishment.

  3. Hi! I also had a great time!! And go you for working on the book!
    Once is a show we gave up on after 3 episodes because we ran out of DVR space. I do know, though, tha Robin Hobb is a master of making such horrible things happen to her characters that i almost stop reading. The only reason i always keep going is because i know things typically work out for the best in the end, but man. The journey getting there is hard to stomach

  4. Wow. I was going to say EXACTLY what Sommer said. My husband adores the Dresden Files so he was anxious for me to try them. But man, reading the first few books (which was as far as I could get) was like being constantly mentally and emotionally beat up, because Harry is always being beat up. I loved the premise of the books and I love the character of Harry Dresden, but I can't read those books. They make me feel physically awful.

    I think books need some balance. It can't be a constant downward spiral into darkness. You need small victories here and there or at least some periods of respite.

  5. I stopped watching Supernatural because the angst got too much. When you reach a point when you actively hope the main characters will just stay dead, it's time to walk away.

  6. YES!! Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman. To this day I can't get past the first 50 pages or so because the poor MC just get's continually trodden all over! I sympathized so much with the MC (because I really like to become part of the story) that it was too difficult for me to keep reading.

    I'm getting back to blogging, too :) Miss your face!

  7. No lie... reading these responses makes me feel SO much better!

    Sarah M and Sommer--I've never read the Dresden files, but I've heard a lot about the series. Good to know!

    Hannah--I'm not making fun of you, but "a gluten for punishment" is by FAR the funniest thing I've read all day. :) Thank you so much for the giggles. And I know exactly what you meant.

    Sarah A--yeah, if it weren't for the marathon last week, I don't know if I would've gotten into it. So far, I'm watching, but I'm also on the fence.

    Miss Cole--you're breaking my heart! And also proving a very good point. Clearly two smokin' hot men as lead characters helps keep me entertained. Fickle, I know.

    Zeki--missed you too, girl. Welcome back. And thanks for the heads up on Anansi Boys!

  8. I felt the same way about Pillars of the Earth. I hated the bad guys in that novel so much by the end that their punishment wasn't nearly satisfying enough. They got away with doing everything evil to the good guys up until the end and I wanted them to BURN. Great novel though. :)

  9. I got mad while watching the season finale of Dexter b/c I felt his character and the story line were just destroying another character (Dexter's sister). It just felt so over the top.
    I also watch Once Upon a Time, but have started to kind of lose interest. Still I love the Queen's black and white office--I want one like that! :)

  10. Good point! In a series, you have to have enough ups and downs, questions answered and unanswered, to keep people coming back for more. Too much of either... they'll find something else.

  11. The technical term is GRRM syndrome. :) Yeah, it definitely turns me off if I feel like the characters will never win. Though I've read at least one series where I felt the "please, just let them die so they can be out of their misery" thing and the characters came back to kick some major A in the end!

  12. lol @ Nicole's GRRM syndrome. And that is why I don't plan on reading beyond book 1. Too much bad stuff to the good people. And asking me to hang around for 5 more books for someone to get their comeuppance is a bit too much of an ask for me!

  13. I actually felt this way reading (and watching) Lord of the Rings. Before I was even halfway through, I was like, "Enough already!"


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