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I write only happy endings(because I'm a Rebel :D) (1 Viewer)

Xander416

Senior Member
It wasn't intended that way to either of you, sorry if it came off that way. Sometimes "happy" is just a matter of perspective rather than an absolute. If a plane crashed and the sole survivor is my family member that was on it, I'm going to be jumping for joy, but that doesn't change the fact that hundreds more families will be grieving the loss of husbands, wives, siblings, and children. So while it ended well for me, it's a tragedy for hundreds of others. See what I'm saying?
 

vranger

Staff member
Supervisor
It wasn't intended that way to either of you, sorry if it came off that way. Sometimes "happy" is just a matter of perspective rather than an absolute. If a plane crashed and the sole survivor is my family member that was on it, I'm going to be jumping for joy, but that doesn't change the fact that hundreds more families will be grieving the loss of husbands, wives, siblings, and children. So while it ended well for me, it's a tragedy for hundreds of others. See what I'm saying?
I do, but we're talking about what we present to a reader, and what we make the reader feel. I mentioned above to Az that Ripley and the cat surviving is a happy ending despite the horrible deaths for the rest of the crew. So if you present a good outcome for a protagonist, the reader will feel that. If the protagonist lost important people, the reader will feel something different.

In my sci-fi book last year, I reported the death of two people, off stage. Readers tell me that teared them up, and it teared me up when I wrote it. The two people were very important to my MC, and they were family.

In the novel I completed earlier this year, I blew up one end of Central Park with atrocious damage to the surrounding area, and reported the death of ten thousand as a result. No reader has batted an eye. If I'd wanted a reaction, I could have put my MC in the middle of all that for some heart-wrenching activity, but I didn't. That wasn't the point.

It's ALL about where you put the focus and how you present it. The author is 100% in control of that, or they are if they know what they're doing.
 

JBF

Staff member
Board Moderator
I do, but we're talking about what we present to a reader, and what we make the reader feel. I mentioned above to Az that Ripley and the cat surviving is a happy ending despite the horrible deaths for the rest of the crew. So if you present a good outcome for a protagonist, the reader will feel that. If the protagonist lost important people, the reader will feel something different.

Happy in hindsight. In the moment it's more a sense of relief at having made it, maybe a silent prayer of thanks, maybe the electric feeling up the spine of having narrowly avoided a fate much, much worse.

I'm leaning on that for mine (when I get around to the novel-length pieces, anyway). It's a happy ending in contrast to most of what came before, but the light of dying days can still throw shadows on the present. The wants and needs of the characters are fulfilled for most, though not in the way they might expect, and if they're better off than they began there's no ducking the price demanded of getting there. Lots of blood and tears on the way up. Lots of rough nights still ahead. Too many empty seats at the table for those who didn't make it to the victory parade, for whichever reason.

Those handful who remain won't save the world...but they'll still have each other, and sometimes that's all the win you get.
 
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JJBuchholz

Senior Member
I'm torn on this subject. Depending on plot and cast of characters in one of my stories/novellas, I don't always use happy endings
so much as I use them to bring a resolution per se. In a lot of cases (if writing an installment in one of my series), I will conclude an
arc or set up a future story, and this could be neither happy nor sad.

Another example is when a happy ending could be used, but the writer instead decides that a protagonist should just never have
a happy ending no matter what. This is the main reason why I stopped watching Arrow after Season 5, and The Flash after Season
4 a little while back, as the writers just couldn't bring themselves to giving the protagonists a happy ending, instead adding more
strife that would carry over into the next season.

I personally believe that happy endings have a purpose, but need to be chosen carefully. If the whole plot of a particular story is
to have the main characters go through hell only to emerge at the end and hug it out like nothing happened, then what was the
point of the story? Ending don't necessary have to be happy or sad as long as they contain resolution and evolution of character
arcs as well.

I also believe that this falls under 'to each his or her own' when writing, as at the end of the day, we all need to be happy with what
we write because we are our own biggest critic.

-JJB
 

vranger

Staff member
Supervisor
I'm torn on this subject. Depending on plot and cast of characters in one of my stories/novellas, I don't always use happy endings
so much as I use them to bring a resolution per se. In a lot of cases (if writing an installment in one of my series), I will conclude an
arc or set up a future story, and this could be neither happy nor sad.

Another example is when a happy ending could be used, but the writer instead decides that a protagonist should just never have
a happy ending no matter what. This is the main reason why I stopped watching Arrow after Season 5, and The Flash after Season
4 a little while back, as the writers just couldn't bring themselves to giving the protagonists a happy ending, instead adding more
strife that would carry over into the next season.

I personally believe that happy endings have a purpose, but need to be chosen carefully. If the whole plot of a particular story is
to have the main characters go through hell only to emerge at the end and hug it out like nothing happened, then what was the
point of the story? Ending don't necessary have to be happy or sad as long as they contain resolution and evolution of character
arcs as well.

I also believe that this falls under 'to each his or her own' when writing, as at the end of the day, we all need to be happy with what
we write because we are our own biggest critic.

-JJB
You're absolutely correct. If there was no consequence, then what was the point? However, the consequence doesn't have to be death or grief or blanket disappointment or misery. The consequence can be hard-won experience, even if that experience does leave the protagonist sadder in some way ... such as learning that an imagined friend was a traitor. It can be a difficult life-changing choice. But your point has a flip side. If NOTHING positive happens in the end, what was the point?

The 1970s saw tragedies trending in TV series and film, and they didn't last. Arguably, Gunsmoke's sudden penchant for tragic endings got the series canceled after 20 years on the air. It got to where it seemed like every episode built you up to like that weeks' guest character, then killed him in some horrible way at the end. The show slipped from the Top 10 to about 30th in the Neilsen Ratings, and I'd argue the new plotting style had a lot to do with it. I was one of many who simply stopped watching.
 

indianroads

Staff member
Global Moderator
One thing I hate in tv shows/movies and books is a sad ending with no resolution(s)

I suffer from depression and anxiety so it doesn't help me to watch depressing things

if a story starts out depressing but then turns into a miraculous turn around, then okay, that's perfect/beautiful/wonderful

this is why I personally write only happy endings


I think it's important to show people too that good things can and will happen if you believe that they can

we live in a very chaotic culture that sends us mixed signals,

"don't feel angry or sad"

but then all the media is depressing

I think it's time for a change

we need a spiritual revolution in filmmaking

I write stories that I wanna turn into tv shows and movies that will make people feel good spiritually, like their hope has been restored.

I write what I like to call Queer Faith Fiction

stories about LGBT+/Queer characters that get good lives/happy endings

I'd like to see if there are like minded people on here :p
I’ve only written one book without a happy ending, Desperation in mt Extinction series. The protagonists were trying to outwit an artificial intelligence, and that just isn’t going to happen.
 
I think I conceive of it more in terms of right vs. awry, or complete vs. incomplete, more so than happy vs. sad. An ending might be bittersweet or joyful or terrifying, but things can still be ... right. Like, everything is in its proper place, and things are as they should be.

But there are also endings -- and I like these too -- where it ends at a place where things are still incomplete. It's satisfying, but not everything is yet as it should be. And ending like this might still be happy, but the ultimate-reconciliation-state, the heaven-state (in a story sense) has not yet been reached.
 
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