Last Week’s WW: Finishing
And they all lived happily ever after. Or, maybe not. These days it seems like most books have a hero’s journey. Or, at the very lease, a happy ending. People like stories that make them feel good. But that doesn’t mean that it’s the only way.
I’m currently working on a series of short stories, and I’ll be honest, I’m a little worried about them. Why? Because they don’t all have happy endings. Sometimes, the protagonist fails.
Their used to be a time when tragedies were common place. And there are a great many people who like a drama. But most people want to have something to root for.
And that’s fine. Give them that. While your story doesn’t necessarily have a happy ending, there should probably be some small victories along the way. Whether that’s the protagonist getting something they’ve always wanted, or learning some truth, or just dying happy. If you give readers a little something, maybe they won’t hate you quiet as much for making them sad, and making your protagonist fail.
This is a topic that deserves more attention. The tragedy has fallen out of style, but will return one day. Short stories have made a big comeback.
You don’t know how bad I wanted to turn my last book into a tragedy, but I resisted.
You’re spot on, at least for me, about tragic endings needing “something happy” to balance them out.