Being mean to characters

Yesterday I finished writing the Awful Middle Scene in the sequel to Dolls. This was a hard one. There was death, loss, anger, survivor's guilt, tender goodbyes, declarations of love. In short...

found at xallthey.tumblr.com/
original from 
hyperbole and a half


In fact, the scene was so big that I haven't been able to write it for three months. Now I'm heading into the back half of the book, and I can feel the momentum building. I was so excited that of course I had to say something online, which led to the following conversation with my mother.

Me: Everyone in my book in now either heartbroken or super pissed. Seems like a good way to start the second half. #evilwriter 
Mom: Miriam - where did you get this evil writer persona - you were such a sweet child!!!! :) 
Me: Hehehehe

I am ninety percent sure that my mother was kidding, but it is an interesting question. In real life, I avoid conflict. I'm not violent. But  I have no problem killing and torturing characters if the book needs it.

It's a little crazy-making, as Chuck Wendig pointed out this week. (In his usual hilarious and deeply profane way.) Writers are nuts. We create characters, bring them to life and then torment them.

Why?

Well, partly because totally happy stories are boring. Conflict is necessary, and a good writer cares more about what's good for the book then they do about what's good for the characters. But I know there are other reasons too, so I thought I'd ask.

Are you mean to your characters? Why?

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Fabric art in the header by Carol Riggs.