A friend of mine posted a picture of a scene from my book, Polar Opposites, on my Facebook page and the status called the characters in the scene, “Assholes!”
Awesome! I squealed and clapped.
Why am I okay with this? It’s the emotion behind the post that thrills me. Yes, literary characters can be jerks, too. And, as is the case in the scene my friend highlighted, it is often intentional. So many things have to come together to shape the story line and grow characters. That particular scene explains a character’s motivation, or confirms what some readers suspected up to that point. It also incites a key incident in the development of the main character, Jeff, who is a by-stander in that scene.
Oh, I know I’m being all cryptic. I don’t mean to tick you off, but the incident is crucial to the end of the series, so I can’t give specifics for fear I’ll blow it. But that’s part of my SQUEE moment. By demonstrating her reaction to that scene, my friend confirmed that the emotion it stirred in her makes it a memorable moment, it binds her more strongly to Jeff, who is impacted the most by it. And hopefully buys him more loyalty from readers. He’ll need it as he goes through his next tumultuous journey.
What I find interesting is that we experience these moments IRL, too. But they aren’t as recognizable because they’re mashed up inside days filled with equal parts monotony and chaos. The path to them and from them isn’t clearly defined like it is in a literary character’s life. Think how much easier life would be if we could see our path as easily as Harry Potter saw his!