I’ve been pondering a bit of late. As I dive deeper into Edge of Darkness and continue working on CBC, I’ve started questioning why it seems I can’t write happy, light, sunshine-filled stories. Even some tales that I’ve started out in a lighthearted tone, turn dark along the way. My characters always seem to have issues; they’re damaged at some deep level, and I find it impossible to take it easy on them.
This bothered me for a little while. I remember the first novel I attempted to write. It was filled with snarky comments, and sassy characters. Nobody took anything seriously, and I approached the entire thing with a light hand. I still have the unfinished rough draft. I toy with taking it out and trying to pound it into something finished, but I’m afraid it would take a turn along the way. Could I force myself into writing it as I intended when I started? I have my doubts. But maybe that’s why I never finished it.
Anyhow, I think I may have figured it out. See, no matter how much we’d like it to be, the world is not all rainbows and unicorn kisses. People struggle. Every day. Against their own demons, against outside influences, against powers beyond their control, and situations of their own making. For some people, a happy ending is simply being alive after the storm passes.
I’m reminded of something Sam Gamgee says,
“It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something.”
Not that I claim to be writing the “great stories” Sam refers to. But maybe that’s why I write the type of stories I do. Why I don’t craft the happily-ever-after ending, but more the “She’s tore up plenty, but she’ll fly true” type of story. (Bonus points if you can tell me where that quote is from.)–because I like to show the strength in people. The resilience. The quiet courage it takes to get back up even after you’ve been knocked down again and again. I put my characters through hell, I admit it, but trust me, it isn’t always easy. I dive deep into my their skin, channel their emotions, bleed onto the keys with them. But their stories deserve to be told as well. Don’t they?
Okay, enough rambling and spouting of doom and gloom. To prove I can provide my characters with some relief and some reward for all I put them through, I give you 9 sentences from CBC of a somewhat lighter, happier tone–hopefully without any unintentional spoilers. Keep in mind, I said ‘somewhat’. We’re not talking Pollyanna here.
I followed Dell out of the carriage, our conversation coming to an abrupt end as a blur of motion streaked towards us from the steps of the manse. I braced myself; for once catching the boy before he managed to get his hands on me. His face scrunched as I held him at arm’s length.
“Aren’t you happy to see me?” he asked.
“When have I ever been happy to see you, boy?” And my attempt at sounding gruff failed miserably.
He smiled, a light dancing in his eyes that I’d never seen before. “Well, I’m happy to see you.”
“And why would that be?”
“Because it means you didn’t die.”
See. Not so bad. Gylan is actually happy. 🙂
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