Tags:
  1. Charisma
    Offline

    Charisma Transposon Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2007
    Messages:
    2,704
    Likes Received:
    142
    Location:
    Lahore, Pakistan

    Realism? Or Emotional Fantasy?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Charisma, Aug 25, 2008.

    I have always been blamed by my readers for 'harsh, merciless stories'. With regards to characterization, I've been told that I typically hate my characters and fail to give a happy ending. But I believe that happy endings are typically nonexistent in real life, and since I am writing realistic fiction, I want some realism in it!

    Nonetheless, the latest complaint I've received is about a female character who has lost her husband and brother and ultimately rejects her lover's hand in marriage since he was the reason she lost her brother. Some of my friends said that was harsh and the character should've been shown happy by marrying her to her lover - but that doesn't happen in real life! You don't just marry a man who murdered your brother, especially if you love your brother.

    Any comments/suggestions?
     
  2. Nilfiry
    Offline

    Nilfiry Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2008
    Messages:
    670
    Likes Received:
    81
    Location:
    Eternal Stream
    Seems like what you're doing is right. Keep at it.
     
  3. CDRW
    Offline

    CDRW Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2008
    Messages:
    1,532
    Likes Received:
    27
    As far as your example goes, I wouldn't marry anyone who killed a family member of mine. That is completely real. In fact, if she did marry him I would probably put down the story because it's so unbelievable.

    However I don't think that it's anywhere near accurate to say that happy endings don't happen in real life unless you are saying that since life continues beyond any given moment there are no real endings at all. Saying that is just like saying that there are no happy moments.

    If you'd like I can provide specific examples of happy endings in my life.
     
  4. Charisma
    Offline

    Charisma Transposon Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2007
    Messages:
    2,704
    Likes Received:
    142
    Location:
    Lahore, Pakistan
    I mean to say that in every happy ending, someone's happiness has to sacrificed. Nothing can be perfect; not in a worldly life for instance. I don't want to sound like a woman deprived of a happy life and now mourning about it, but that's a fact. Nothing is perfect, and something has to go wrong to make something right. It's a law of science that only imbalance in a natural system allows diffusion, radioactive decay, etc. So some characters might end up in a worse state than before, and others in a better.

    Also, like you said, I believe in afterlife and so in my opinion, an unhappy good guy isn't necessarily being given a bad ending as we put it, and vice versa. Thanks for your help by the way.
     
  5. Kio
    Offline

    Kio Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2008
    Messages:
    270
    Likes Received:
    11
    Location:
    Southern Water Tribe
    What you're doing is right. Don't try changing it. If it's your style to be harsh (yet realistic, mind you), then keep it up. Not everyone believes in 'happily ever after's. I sure don't.
     
  6. Ungood
    Offline

    Ungood Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2008
    Messages:
    790
    Likes Received:
    6
    In the end it is your story.

    There is no wrong way to write. So write what you feel inspired to write.
     
  7. Etan Isar
    Offline

    Etan Isar Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2007
    Messages:
    1,183
    Likes Received:
    32
    I don't see "harshness" entering into the equation. Some stories have happy endings, some don't. I'm working on a story now where all four main characters and a major character die. But I love the characters.


    Write the story you want to write. Your summary sounds reasonable to me.
     
  8. Ore-Sama
    Offline

    Ore-Sama Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2008
    Messages:
    194
    Likes Received:
    2
    I really don't get the ideal that if you have bad things happen to your characters, you hate them. If a writer hated a character, they wouldn't have anything tragic happen to them, they'd do what they can to write the character out and reduce their role to nothing, not dwell on the horrible things being done to them, because that would mean you'd have to focus more writing on that character. The writer/character relationship is an odd one:the more horrible evils you have inflicted on them, the more you love them. Or that's the way I see it.
     
  9. Charisma
    Offline

    Charisma Transposon Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2007
    Messages:
    2,704
    Likes Received:
    142
    Location:
    Lahore, Pakistan
    Thanks for your opinions everyone.
     
  10. AnonyMouse
    Offline

    AnonyMouse Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2008
    Messages:
    2,227
    Likes Received:
    337
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    Funny thing is, some people are glad to sacrifice their happiness for the greater good. It doesn't have to be a total pity party. That one guy or gal who gave up everything may have been happy to give it up. Some people will actually feel bad if they don't make that sacrifice. People all need/want different things, so it's very possible for a character to give up something that is important to others, but means little to him/her.

    I agree that the ending you chose is perfect, but I just wanted to play the other side for a moment.
     
  11. ABMiller86
    Offline

    ABMiller86 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2008
    Messages:
    36
    Likes Received:
    0
    I would say that if they cared and read your story enough to know about this 'Harsh ending' that you are definitly doing something write, people will always have there opinion on how something should end. How many times have you gone to a movie theater and after the movie got out you were talking about how you wish something else would have happened.

    Dont change a thing.
     
  12. Rei
    Offline

    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2008
    Messages:
    7,869
    Likes Received:
    32
    Location:
    Kingston
    Of course you're not going to do that. But it is definitely not true to say that there are no happy endings in real life. It's just not magically happy in a disney movie way. People achieve their goals, overcome illnesses, find the love that they want. Good things happen and bad things happen. If you want to have miserable endings, that's totally up to you. There is no wrong way to tell a story. What happened in the story you're talking about makes perfect sense, but it is possible to have a happy ending and still be realistic.
     
  13. Charisma
    Offline

    Charisma Transposon Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2007
    Messages:
    2,704
    Likes Received:
    142
    Location:
    Lahore, Pakistan
    Thanks for your opinions AnonyMouse and ABMiller86.

    Thanks for your input Rei. All I meant to say was that happy endings don't mean everything goes perfect. My novel has a happy ending, since more than half the characters end up in a better situation than before - but others don't, and well, they can't because then someone else has to be unhappy.
     
  14. captain kate
    Offline

    captain kate Active Member

    Joined:
    May 4, 2008
    Messages:
    876
    Likes Received:
    28
    Location:
    Cruising through space.
    I can't be accused of having a "soft touch' either given the kinds of struggles that Kate's had to fight through.
     
  15. soujiroseta
    Offline

    soujiroseta Senior Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2008
    Messages:
    199
    Likes Received:
    26
    Location:
    Harare, Zimbabwe
    i think that you should just write your stories the way you like Char:). because if you look at it nothing in this world is perfect, everyone goes through some kind of trial no matter how minute, the fact that some of your characters end up unhappy so that others may be happy makes it very realistic because thats what happens in real life. As far as im concerned its a very human approach.
     
  16. architectus
    Offline

    architectus Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2008
    Messages:
    1,796
    Likes Received:
    14
    Location:
    Ca
    I am not sure about most people, but I read novels to escape reality. There needs to be some realism though, or I will not get sucked in. Most novels beat the hell out of the MCs, then at the end have them overcome some weakness and defeat the enemy. The enemy might be a bad relationship, a monster, a disease, etc.

    Sometimes beating the bad relationship means getting out of it. But usually if this happens it will hint at the end that the MC has found a new love, a new spark.

    It is rare that a novel will have a bad ending, that is be a tragedy. Usually that is left for short stories. That just seems to be what sells novels, and so it is a standard. If more people wanted tragedies I guess they would be popular.

    I think the reason a short story can get away with it, is because the reader has not dedicated much time to the characters, but in a novel they have invested a lot. If the MC they have grown to love is killed, doesn't win, or something really bad happens to him/her it can really leave a bad taste in your mouth.

    I was so disapointed at the ending of Odd Thomas, that I rewrote the ending in my head. (SPOILER) I couldn't believe a main character died. It really messed me up for a few days.

    All that being said, you have to follow your heart and write what you like. Don't sell out.
     

Share This Page