Sunday, October 6, 2013

How bad is bad?

A recent post by a friend on Facebook got me wondering about back stories on heroes. The point of her post was why the heroes of BDSM stories have to have such terrible backgrounds. She wondered why sadists and masochists couldn't just be normal people with happy family lives below their preferred sexual leaning. Well, I don't personally know any sadists or masochists so I have no idea if they have wear slippers and stroke little puppies in their cosy homes. Maybe they do. But it raised the point in my mind as to how far we writers should go down the path of creating horrible back story for our heroes - and heroines.

I have to admit - I do like to give people tortured pasts. When I tried to think if any of my characters have loving normal parents - I drew a blank. If they did, I'd usually killed them off. Though the Trueblood clan have loving parents, don't they? Not sure if it counts if they are vampires. Plus they had to send their kids away to keep them safe, so maybe they don't count either.  I suspect Addie - out of Doing the Right Thing - has the worst mother - the woman didn't love her at all. Though Ash in An Ordinary Girl - her mother was - ah - better not give that story away. Even Charlie's mother in Strangers - had her moment.

So why do I like to write about cruel people? I think maybe it's to show how the hero or heroine can rise above that cruelty and be a good person, that just because you had a bad childhood, it doesn't mean you'll be unhappy as an adult. We're all responsible for our own happiness. Life's too short to give up on smiling. I just like to make my characters suffer to find their HEA.

And because this picture makes me smile - maybe it will make you smile too! of course moments later, Charlotte the Golden Retriever, threw up on the rug!


Arlene said...

To write adult characters who start out as happy with great parents and no tradegies seems about right for stories aimed at kids. But that happy ending doesnt seem so wonderful if there isnt any effort on the characters part's to get there. Torture, flaws, and then growth and finding happiness are all things you do so fantastic.

Barbara Elsborg said...

Thanks, Arlene!!!

Anonymous said...

Great post Barbara!