Saturday, July 9, 2011

Happy Endings

First of all get your mind out of the gutter. Second of all, if your mind wasn't in the gutter, get it in there for a minute. Massages in seedy back alley sailor bars. Okay, now get your mind out of the gutter.

I have noticed lately that I don;t write very many happy endings. More often than not, my protagonists are unlikeable, and fated to die horribly. I have no idea what that's about.

I have written several stories where the hero triumphs, so it's not that I am morally incapable of writing a happy ending. I just like tragic horror. I find the ills I visit on the poor schlubs in my stories to be like balm on my own psychic scars (feel free to snort at that purple sentence.)

I recently read part of Ben Bova's "How To Write Fiction that sells". I found it to be not that helpful to me, except that it got me thinking about the lack of heroic outcomes in my work, and whether I need more of them.

Which is actually a pretty big help, and as much as I find myself disagreeing with his rules of good fiction, I still like that he is getting me to think, and try new things.

And yes, I know it is sacrilege to disagree with Ben Bova about writing. I'm a heretic, not by choice but by sorry circumstance. Woe unto me. I will probably never sell anything now.

I have resolved to give his preferences a try, and write at least one full-on, hero saves the day, stretches past glaring flaws, and so on type story, with a happy ending, and see how I feel when I'm done. One of the great things about writing a lot, especially shorts, is I can afford to experiment.

Let's face it though, no experiment like this can ever truly be a failure. I'm bound to learn something, at the least.

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