Recently, author Ann Aguirre said on Twitter that “I find that once a MC [main character] has everything he or she wants, there’s nothing left to strive for. That’s why I abuse them & take stuff away.”
That kind of author cruelty is what elevates a book from fine and entertaining to memorable—the moments of Delicious Despair, or Ugly Cries: When Authors Bring the Sob-Worthy Goodness.
Examples abound in paranormal romance and urban fantasy of characters really being made to suffer within the pages of the books. Historical and contemporary romances, more often, limit the vast suffering to the events prior to the opening of the book, and those events affect the characters’ behavior in the story.
So—what’s the most agonizingly painful moment a character has suffered during the course of the plot for your entertainment?