Thursday, November 8, 2012

To The Pain...

Now for those of you familiar with the classic movie, The Princess Bride, you know where the title of today’s blog came from. For the rest of you- GO WATCH IT!
Ok, to sum up for you non-believers of the power of The Princess Bride, the line is from a scene where our hero, Wesley, who is recovering from being mostly dead for a while, finds himself facing his very able enemy.
When the big bad prince challenges Wesley to a duel to the death, our hero counters with, “No, to the pain.” He then elaborates how to the pain is much worse than to the death because after disfiguring the bad prince he will leave his ears- so he will hear all of the shrieks when people see him.
Now what has this to do with writing you ask? I am in the middle NaNo madness, ya know…to the pain seems very appropriate ;).
But this is really going that extra step as writers and making our characters go an extra step too. Wesley couldn’t fight at that point, he could barely get off the bed. But he convinces the prince that to fight Wesley would have such dire consequences (because he obviously thought this out) that the prince throws down his sword, and allows himself to be tied up.
All because the writer made the character go way beyond what was expected.
So next time you’re writing- don’t take your first idea, or even your second- find one that takes you to the pain J. Keep things fresh and unexpected.
Side note on my nano and the great outline experiment- about 50 pages in, haven't completely followed my outline, but using it more as tent poles.  I'm on target for my sequence one ending though (I'm doing a three act/eight sequence outline- so in other words- I'm almost to the the half way point of act one ;)).  Even though I'm not sticking with it as much as hoped, I will say the book is turning out much better because of it!


  1. Princess Bride titles? I couldn't not click on this blog post! ;)

  2. LOL!! It would be INCONCEIVABLE Cassi! :). Thanks for swinging by-


  3. Such a good scene.

    And, yes--I definitely have a few scenes in my WIP that I need to take to the pain during this revision process.

    Shoshana...who has that movie memorized

    1. Hi Shoshana! Maybe that should be anew editing pass, "the to-the-pain" pass ;).

      Oh yeah, I love this movie!

      Thanks for coming by!

  4. Marie,

    It's great that Wesley gets out of a bad situation in a unique and fairly plausable way. Having both of these things is the trick. It is not unusual for an author to make the hero solve a problem in a surprising way, but often the solution is only unique because the author thought "Wow! That's cool! No one will expect that!" The author should be asking themselves if the solution is also plausable, in both physical and psychological ways. If your hero has never demonstrated a physical skill in the story, it will be hard to buy him/her using the skill effectively. Plus, if your hero has never had an original thought or acted in this way before, it will be hard for the reader to believe it in a moment of crisis. All through the Princess Bride, Wesley is shown to be thoughtful and able to quickly assess situations as well as to formulate plans which succeed. So "to the pain" works. It also helps if the solution doesn't defy the laws of physic.

  5. Excellent points Sharon :)- yeah a "wow this is cool!" solution won't work unless it matches the character.

    I shudder to think at a hero who has never had an original thought before though ;). If that's the case the author has far more problems going on!

    Thanks for coming by and great points for us all to remember!

  6. Great post Marie!!! :)

    And I love the title...

    Glad you're making progress on your Nano project!!! WOOT!!!

    Lisa :)