Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Laugh and the world laughs with you.
Cry and you cry alone.
That's true, right? It should be. After all none of us like listing to someone who whines all the time. We all just talked about needing a happy ending.
But isn't bad news that sells newspapers?
It's the same for novels. Bad news, or conflict on every page according to Donald Maas, is a must. It is what keeps a reader turning the pages. It is boring if everyone is happy, sad to say. I learned very early as a writer, as soon as everyone is happy, the story is over, epilogues excepted of course.
Is it perhaps that other old truism. Misery loves company? That we are happy to see that other people have troubles worse than ours?
I think it is that only more. We want to know that our hero and heroine deserve their happy ending, that it didn't just fall into their laps, but that they, like most of us, had to work for their success, whether defeating a villain or an earthquake or a bad decision. We want to know that what they defeated was worthy of them, that the villain was clever, and perhaps justified in his goals on some level, that the people saved in the fire or flood were valued, or we aren't going to care if the ending is happy or not.
Every time our hero and heroine get comfortable, we have to kick them out of their comfort zone, you know get them up a tree then throw rocks at them until they figure a way down for themselves. Isn't this what happens to us all the time and we have to pick ourselves up and try again?
When a reader truly believes in each new problem and lives them right along with your characters it is humbling and rewarding. It is also the biggest challenge for me as a writer. Now where did I put that rock?