Let’s discuss HEA’s and Un-HEA’s… Finding a happy medium

A while back, I mean like two years ago, I discussed murdering characters in books.   At the time, I hadn’t been fully on the wagon of murdering someone in a book, and mind you, I’m a suspense/thriller author.  Murder is hard.  It something that most of us don’t want to talk about or deal with, and I get it.  But, sometimes, you have to kill characters.  Even if it is a main character.

Do any of you guys watch Castle?  I’m addicted to that show, and thank goodness they show reruns of it almost 24/7 on TNT.  I watch it constantly.  Okay, I’m running rabbits here.  Back on topic.  Well, Castle, being the awesome writer he is, kills off his main character, Derek Storm, in his Storm series.  (Yes, I realize this is just fiction.  Bear with me.)  He said he killed him because he was bored with his character, but sometimes, I think it’s the only logical way to end a series.  Don’t kill me!

If you guys have access to internet, you’ve probably heard that Allegiant, the final Divergent novel, was released last week.  (10/22/13)  I was one of those who had the book delivered to my doorstep one-day shipping from Amazon.  I’m a huge fan, but I was stupid enough to read the reviews on Amazon.

HUGE SPOILER ALERT!!!

Tris dies at the end.  Told you.  Huge.

END OF SPOILER

Okay, so I’m not happy about knowing the ending before I get there, but it had me thinking, what happens when you have to kill your main character? Or you have to make a choice that may not make your readers happy?

As an author, I kinda get it.  I’ve had to kill a main character before, and it saddened me to no end.  But, logically, it had to be done.  He had to die for the story.  I had written like five drafts before deciding to kill him.  So, when I read all the slack that Veronica Roth was getting, I felt so bad for her.  The same when all that mess happened with Charlaine Harris (although I stopped reading her books a long time ago).  Sometimes, you get bored or it makes sense to kill off a beloved character or choose something that most people didn’t expect.

DO NOT GET ME WRONG.  I’m all for a HEA (happily ever after), but sometimes, it makes sense not to “make sense.”  Make sense?

As a reader, I’m livid when a beloved character dies or makes a stupid choice, but as an author, I get it.  Do I think readers need to look through the eyes of an author sometimes?  Yes.  It would help them understand that we aren’t cruel beings.  We plot things.  We spend more time with our characters than the readers do, and we are part of them.  Do we, as authors, need to think about the readers when we write?  Heck yes!  But, it also means that we need a happy medium.

This is exactly what I’m talking about.  In one review for Allegiant by Veronica Roth, the reviewer says, “Finally, about that ending. I give a lot of leeway to authors. They can do whatever they want, even if it devastates me, AS LONG AS it serves a purpose. In this case, I don’t see how the ending served the story for the better except for “shock-value.”. Maybe someone will find a reason.”

So, as an author, we need to stay true to our voice, but we also need to appease our readers.  How do you find your happy medium as an author?  As a reader, what do you expect from authors?

** I wrote this post the other day, before I finished Allegiant.  I have since finished Allegiant, and I stand by my words.  Here’s my review of the book itself.**

Allegiant by Veronica Roth4 stars

I know there are mixed feelings about this novel.  I have mixed feelings about it.  The novel in itself is a great read, and the issue is mainly the ending.  But, let’s start from the beginning.

I was happy to know some answers as to what were going on.  We get plenty of answers, and it was a unique twist to dystopian fiction that I was happy about.

What I didn’t like, Tobias’ point of view.  I felt he was whiney and way too damaged to love more than I already loved him. (This is not a pun on the word.)

I also didn’t like the ending, but of course, if it’s how the author felt about writing it, it’s her decision to make.  I won’t criticize her for it.  I know it must’ve been a tough decision to make and honestly, if you think about it, we saw that coming.  She had been foreshadowing it through the first two books and even through the last.  It was a natural way to end it for the author, and I get it.  I’m not happy with it, but I get it.

So, all in all, it was an entertaining read, not as good as the first two books, but I quite enjoyed it.

4 thoughts on “Let’s discuss HEA’s and Un-HEA’s… Finding a happy medium

  1. I used to refuse to even consider killing off any of my characters, on the grounds that, yeah, death is a part of real life, but fiction can be happier than that! Fast-forward to nowadays, where I have to stop myself from killing everybody left and right by asking whether each death is necessary. X)

    Sometimes a death augments the power of the story. Other times, it might be little more than an easy way to try to ramp up the tension or get rid of a character who needs to make an exit. I would definitely think twice before using the second kind of death; but the first, if the author has the guts to do it and handle it with its due amount of respect, can be amazing.

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    1. I know what you mean. I had to kill someone in my novel once. He needed out of the picture, so I think it worked for the overall novel. But, I try not to kill my main characters unless I have to. But, I like what you’ve said. It’s absolutely true. Thanks!

      Like

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