You’re Breaking My Heart
In life we experience moments where we know heartache in various forms. We are familiar with disappointment, rejection, and even despair. The act and very process of writing can also do this providing that when we write we are writing about something that truly causes us to well up and let the tears flow down on the page.
There are two words I personally dread as a reader as well as audience member. Those words are ‘tear jerker.’ Moments in film such as when William Wallace finally meets the executioner’s axe in Braveheart or reading of Quincy Morris in Bram Stoker’s Dracula always turns on the water works for me.
What is it though that makes these brief instances involving fictional characters so heart-wrenching? Reflecting on my current work in progress, I thought long and hard about this question. The answer was actually quite simple.
We fall in love with the characters…
As we get acquainted with characters, we can usually find ourselves doing one of two things.
- Discover ourselves realizing we like various traits of a said character and instantly become enraptured by them.
- Find ourselves repulsed by various qualities and actions of a said character and long for their demise.
Have you ever found yourself rooting for a villain or a hero to find yourself in tears when they fall? Perhaps caught yourself cheering, whooping, and hollering with joy when a character you despise finally breaks?
I am guilty of both of these.
The Truth Is…
Whether we love or hate them, it all boils down to one undeniable fact. If we are sitting in front of the television watching their story unfold, we are getting to know them. Likewise, if we are turning pages long into the late hours of night because we crave to know what happens next…we are getting to know them.
In our own way, we become connected or attached to these characters. Which is what makes it so heartbreaking when they go.
I can say this openly as in recent chapters of my own piece, I had the pain as well as pleasure of killing one of each type of said characters. It does not matter how many times I may do it, I doubt it will ever come any easier.
For even to this day I cannot help but cry when I see or read one of my favorite characters dying. Just as I cannot help but sigh, smile, or squeal in delight when I find one of those I have loathed finally reaping what they sow.