Adjusting to the dark

I used to demand happy endings.

Mom gave me a copy of Beat the Turtle Drum (no, I never saw the Afterschool Special based on it) and I felt outraged and betrayed.

Later, older, I would walk out of movies if it looked like the plot was getting too bleak.

I don’t know what changed, or when. Was Heavenly Creatures the tipping point? Possibly Cruddy? Maybe storylines like The Death of Speedy in Xaime Hernandez’s work?

I still value comfort reading. I still prefer characters who have the capacity to be happy, even if they aren’t. But more and more, I find myself seeking out exactly the sort of stories I once would have avoided.

And typically, I write breakup scenes before I write the ones where characters get together.

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  • jactitation
    March 11, 2007 at 6:18 pm

    Oh man, I loved Heavenly Creatures. And its precedent made Pan’s Labrynth okay for me.

  • kiplet
    March 11, 2007 at 6:26 pm

    I can’t tell if that’s Puritanical, or eating your dessert before your veggies.

  • caitlinleah
    March 12, 2007 at 11:32 pm

    i don’t require happy endings anymore, i usually like something more realistic… but i require hopeful endings. awful things may have happened, but the characters have grown and learned and are going to move on as better people than when they started the books. i hate it when authors give us a random slice of a character’s life. i want them to have a reason to start when they do, and not to end it until a couple of questions are answered! and i really hate when characters struggle all the way through the book and then give up, or decide it’s not worth it, or otherwise fail in a drastic manner with no hope of redemption.

    i guess i’m pickier than i thought!

  • garretfw
    March 13, 2007 at 2:11 pm

    We’re lucky, then, that you don’t demand happy endings for your characters. I never thought as Heavenly Creatures as having an unhappy end. But you’re right, of course.