Wednesday, October 29, 2014


Recently I came across the German word, Schadenfreude [shahd-n-froi-duh]. I don't speak German, but I love this word. I love the sound of Schadenfreude and the way I have to contort my lips when I say it. I also love how it explains what writers are called to do daily in their writing: derive satisfaction or pleasure felt at someone else's misfortune.

Initially, I struggled with this concept. Each time my character got too close to danger, I redirected her into safety, but, as we all know, that results in a very boring story. So, I began creating situations that caused my protagonist pain and suffering. The story got exciting and we all lived happily ever after. Well, at least I lived happily ever after. As for my protagonist, she's not talking to me right now.

Have you ever heard of the word Schadenfreude? Do you use it daily in your writing or do you derive satisfaction or pleasure felt at someone else's misfortune outside of writing? 



3 comments:

Southpaw HR Sinclair said...

Cool new word! I suppose we all have to use it in writing if we want something exciting for others.

Stephanie Faris said...

My husband said that's the only language that has a word for "getting joy out of the misery of others." I think that word explains the success of shows like Honey Boo-Boo, though! I have the opposite problems with my books. I always want to make things easy for my characters. I have to make myself make them go through adversity!

Lexa Cain said...

I've heard the word, but I always forget what it means - so thanks for reminding me! I don't enjoy putting my characters in danger as much as I love getting them out...eventually. lol

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