Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Do You Make Your Characters Sick?

I may have mentioned this somewhere before, but if so, I don't remember where.
I can be mean. I like to make my characters sick.



In Two Wrongs, my debut mystery, which will soon be re-published on Kindle,  I gave the villain dyslexia. 








In Killer Career, I let my main character get hypoglycemia, which I suffered from for a while myself. I've since learned how to control it.

(Still 99 cents on Kindle and Smashwords, more in print)









In my soon to be published, Forever Young - Blessing or Curse, I let one of the villains get bitten by a dog, resulting in hopeless disfigurement to his face. I was also bitten by a dog, but fortunately, I receipt prompt attention from a plastic surgeon and am none the worse for wear from the experience.




Morgan Mandel



What about you? Do you make your characters sick? Or, do you know someone who does?



23 comments:

SBJones said...

I have not had any of my characters fall ill. They get beat up quite a bit as is. I might have to have one get an infection or something, or set a plague upon the world.

Karenna Colcroft said...

I have a couple of heroines who have post-traumatic stress disorder. Other than that, I can't think of any characters I've made sick. Yet, anyway.

P.I. Barrington said...

I make mine psychologically sick--just like me. lol!

BodieP said...

Oh, yeah--I make my characters sick. Most of the time it's a mental or emotional illness, which shapes perception in some way, though occasionally they get pregnant, or get the flu or a cold or something. I tend to stick with the mental stuff because it provides such a fascinating way of skewing perceptions.

carl brookins said...

Psychological sickness. Sean Sean and Catherine get sick over some of the crimes they encounter. sometimes they get sick of each other (for a while)

I put Michael Tanner in the hospital after he was kidnapped and abused while in the Virgin islands. I see no reason not to abuse them, but I don't like to see a protagonist constantly beaten on who just bounces right back to chase down the plot

Milton Trachtenburg said...

I write about dysfunctional people. I wouldn't call them sick. I would call them soul-sick. I've never given a smoker cancer but I have given them terrible complections, bad mouth odor and yellow fingertips! But I really ought to consider it. How about giving a character who stutters a case of the sneezes while drinking soup?

norm cowie said...

They haven't complained yet, so maybe I don't make them sick. I know I irritate them sometimes.

Norm

Liz said...

I have had a couple of "bad deliveries" for mommies and one case of OCD. But am pondering one that would have a serious condition as one of the core elements.
cheers
Liz

Maggie Toussaint said...

My characters are always "broken" emotionally or spiritually, but except for a gunshot wound and a heart condition, I haven't gone the medical route. Perhaps I should.

Maggie
http://mudpiesandmagnolias.blogspot.com/

Roseanne Dowell said...

Now that you mention it, yes. In my current work, one of my characters breaks a ankle, in Connection of the Minds, she sprains an ankle and gets a black eye. In my first book, Satin Sheets, she almost has a miscarriage. Funny,I never thought of that until you pointed it out.

Admin said...

LOL, you know, I don't think I have been doing that and now you've made me wonder if I should! They get kidnapped in one book, does that count? In another book, they are surrounded by ghosts but none get sick if I can remember been so long. Something to think about!

Bob Sanchez said...

I haven't given my characters any interesting ailments. Dean Koontz gave one character an allergy to sunlight, and someone else gave his character a body odor that made him smell like rotting flesh. Both, as it happens, are real afflictions.

My heroes get the sniffles.

Farrah said...

I find that a lot of villains either get sick or get hurt in many books! Are writers "getting even"?! LOL

StephB said...

Morgan, I make my character sick on occasion. Just recently, "Neil" from Feast of Candle, my short in VTP Christmas Anthology 2011 has a cold so he can't play "Fred Claus" for the children.

Smiles
Steph

Deb Larson said...

unfortunately, I do have a character terminally ill. It was a tear jerker to write and read, but as a series, some have to die while others live on.
DL Larson

jenny milchman said...

Huh. I actually don't think I do. A mild allergy--that's it so far. But how interesting! You've got some intriguing ones in there, too...

Jan Christensen said...

Yes, in my first published novel, "Sara's Search," one of the main characters has a mysterious disease which isn't diagnosed until the end. People do get sick, and if you want to up the tension, making at least one character sick can help you do that. Once I started a list of all the trouble the characters could get in. Don't remember if I listed illness. But things like car crashes, break-ins, assaults, bomb threats, and illnesses should all be considered.

Other Lisa said...

always! Ellie in Rock Paper Tiger has PTSD and physical injuries to deal with, Michelle in GETAWAY...well, I can't tell you, because it would be a spoiler. And I often have characters who get some kind of bug or suffer from physical injuries that impact their characters and the plot. I too find characters who go through all kinds of trauma and then just blithely bounce back from it annoying and unrealistic. If you're going to inflict suffering on your characters, make the consequences real.

Liana at livingwithpmdd.com said...

Now that you mention it, I believe I do, drawing on either my own experience or that of those close to me. Great question, Morgan! But so far they've only been mild conditions, diseases, disorders. Nothing serious.

ebookauthor said...

Make them sick? Yes. Make them suffer? Of course. Kill them off? sometimes. Doesn't every good romance author? One of my critique partners wouldn't speak to me for a week because I killed of her favorite secondary character. I loved him too,but he had to die. Such is the stuff of conflict.

jean hart stewart said...

Of course... getting them well again, whether in mind or body, is half the fun

LK Hunsaker said...

Oh, often. My Rehearsal heroine constantly fights illness due to a poor immune system. One of the heroes of the series suffers annual bronchitis, triggered by .. (well, that gives too much away). Another main-minor character has undiagnosed ADHD (not an illness but a disorder) since the series is set before they "discovered" it.

Off The Moon has a pop singer who has to cancel shows due to illness and a heroine who is social phobic to an extreme. Moondrops & Thistles has the heroine ill and by herself because the hero is away. One in the works features a singer with migraines.

Yep, we all get sick and such. Our characters should, too!

V.R. Leavitt said...

One of my characters has scars over a good portion of her body and lost her eyesight to a fire when she was younger. I have no idea what that was about, but that's how it had to be. Stinks for her, but she's a tough gal. :-)