Oct 3 2011 9:26am

Hurts So Good: Author Cruelty

Aftermath by Ann AguirreRecently, 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?

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Pamela Webb-Elliott
1. Spaz
I have to include what Richelle Mead does to Georgina Kincaid and Seth Mortensen. Richelle Mead is not afraid to torture her heroines.
Rachel Vincent is another author with her Shifter series, she is also not afraid to giveth and taketh away from her main character Faythe Sanders resulting in ugly sobbing.
Oh, gotta also mention Vicki Pettersson... she loved to kick around Joanna Archer, the heroine of Signs of the Zodiac series.
Chloe Neill is also not afraid to cut a bitch :P Especially if her name is Merit.
Mind you, all of these authors listed AND DEFINITELY INCLUDING ANN AGUIRRE are in my top favorite authors lists :P
Megan Frampton
2. MFrampton
One historical where something horrible happens during the book is Carolyn Jewel's Scandal. Only one of the things that made it such a different book from the usual historicals.
Annabel Joseph
3. Annabel Joseph
Three words: Christine Monson's Stormfire.

What didn't the "hero" do to that poor woman? It was almost kind of funny by the end.
4. ChelseaMueller
All my favorite authors are the torturing types, but like @Spaz, I have to give it up to Richelle Mead. However, if I'm going with her most fucked up, damn-you-woman twist, I'd actually put it in her YA series. While the third Georgina book made me cry and was evil -- SPOILERS AHEAD FOR VAMPIRE ACADEMY -- in VA she finally made a forbidden love come to fruition, then had the hero get turned into a soulless creature. Heroine then must set out to kill him, because it's what he wanted. Oh, and he captures her, plays with her emotions. Only for her to have to TRY and kill him. Fucked. Up. ...and, yet, perfect.


Chloe Neill is also not afraid to cut a bitch :P Especially if her name is Merit.

Seriously. *bites nails waiting on Drink Deep*
Megan Frampton
5. MFrampton
I can't wait for Drink Deep, either. I had to reread that scene three times to make sure what I'd thought happened had happened. And was so, so sad!
Natasha Carty
6. WickedLilPixie
Kisten damnit! Speaking of which, did you ever finish the Hollows series?
Megan Frampton
7. MFrampton
Oh, Kisten! That's right--I haven't finished that series, it's HC at the library, and I hate HCs. Hoping to snag for e-reader or pb through library soon. Will go check now!
Annabel Joseph
8. jsmom2
hard to do this kind of thing without spoilers... first thing that jumped into my head is Harry and Susan, at the end of Changes Blaylock and Qhuinn has been brutal to follow - so many agonizingly painful moments for them both
Annabel Joseph
9. Barb in Maryland
Torturer thy name is Lilith Saintcrow! Especially her Jill Kismet series.
The books are dark, dark, dark and the end of book 5 (Heaven's Spite) is pure brutal awfulness. If I hadn't seen that there was one more book to come in the series I would have thrown it across the room!
As it is, I can't wait for Angel Town to come out later this month.
Annabel Joseph
10. Rose In RoseBear
@jsmom2 --- Harry, period! Jim Butcher had better give that man a HEA for the ages! Talk about peeling the very skin from the bones --- and, I suspect the worst is yet to come!

And, if you've read Ghost Story, you know that Harry's not the only one hurting ...
rachel sternberg
11. rae70
The many forms of torture and cruelty that befalls Jamie Fraiser in the "Outlander" series by D. Gabaldon.
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