Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Wednesday Factoid: Scary Movies or Happy Endings?

Today's Wednesday Factoid is: Scary Movies or Happy Endings?

This is a weirdly worded question, isn't it!

I mean, theoretically, scary movies can still have happy endings. A lot of them do, actually! Except for if they're straight-up horror movies where lots of people die.

But since I don't like any movies that are specifically designed to be "scary movies," I will go with "happy endings."

I don't like to be tense worrying about the physical safety of characters or being subjected to human suffering. That kind of tension is not pleasant for me. I like some narrative tension but not anything that involves prolonged torture/suffering or anything that depicts intense, hopeless fear and pain. An occasional fight scene or action-packed chase sequence is fine. But on the few occasions where I've been subjected to horror or scary movies, I hate every second of it, and I'm watching it either because someone else wants me to or because I need to see the resolution.

To be honest, though, I'm not that big a fan of straight-up "happy endings" either. I'm okay if the ending is a disaster. Or if people don't get what they want. Or if they get something they want but there are terrible consequences. It's not that I want characters to suffer (remember what I said up there?)--it's that I also care about realism and if someone's going to have a gloriously happy ending I need it to make sense and I prefer that it doesn't tie up every loose end, because then it just "feels written" if you know what I mean.

My first year as a mentor in Pitch Wars, I picked a mentee whose book was devastating at the end. Basically everyone including the main character DIED. And it wasn't implied that it was temporary or anything. She still accomplished her goal, but the sacrifice was what sacrifices were meant to be: a thing she had to give up. And she did. When discussing the participants' potential with other mentors, I found another mentor was interested in the author I wanted to pick, but she had asked for more of his materials and had found out how terribly unhappy the ending was. She was abstaining from choosing him for that reason. That only made me more interested. Give me the feels!

Honestly, if an author can make you cry over losing a character, or make you cry happy tears when they get what they want, they've done their job. I respect that some people like their fiction to scare the piss out of them, so I also respect that some authors know how to do that . . . but wow is it not for me.

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