This September, my baby sister went to a University in a Alberta. (For those unfamiliar with Canadian geography or have forgotten where I, myself, live I'll simplify: she moved to a different Province.)
This past weekend, something awful happened to her. (I won' bore you with details.) I had so many solutions, so many ways for her to avoid it. When it was clear avoidance was impossible, the distance between us stretched to ridiculous proportions (at least in my head it did). If I was there, I could've accompanied her, eased the tension and given her support.
I came to an awful realization: I couldn't protect her.
The sad truth is we can't always protect the people we love. Even when it kills us not to be there. And, sometimes, protecting them is really just sheltering them and we're, in a round about way, only hurting them. When something huge happens and they have to deal with it themselves, the lack of small successes over the years, really shows.
It's the same in our books. No matter how much you love your characters, you can't protect them. If you do, you're only hurting your story. You are actually doing a disservice - no one wants to read about characters when their problems are too easy and it is obvious the author is coddling them.
As awful as this sounds: it's good that my heart breaks and I want to cry when I think of all the stuff my characters must survive during my trilogy.
Twisted? Maybe. True? Undoubtedly.
Do you struggle with hurting your characters? Or is it easy?