Thursday, November 29, 2012
The Sadism of Writers
Happy stories that are happy all times where no characters suffer and nothing dramatic happens are hard to make interesting. I sort of wonder if this is some sort of implicit commentary on the human condition. That's because happiness in stories is like a dessert - a sugary, delicious desert. Too much and you start getting sick of it. Creating drama, upset, pain, disaster, misunderstanding and conflict is the meat and potatoes of the writer. Brushes with mortality, with loss and hurt, truly brings out the character of characters. Do they passively accept their unfortunate turn of circumstances? Do they reject the circumstances and struggle furiously, like an animal with it's leg caught in a trap? Do they collapse and retreat inside themselves? Does the sudden confrontation and challenge awaken something lurking inside of them? Stories require a delicate balance, of understanding pace and balance. Happy moments are an oasis for characters that they can briefly respite and recover from the waves, tides, and avalanches of shit a writer sends their way. Ultimately, though, the only lasting happiness can come from the completion of the story, however tattered and imperfect it might be.