Does Everything Have To Be Happily Ever After?
When I started thinking about writing fiction stories, I thought no matter what happened throughout the story—however the plot developed, everything had to come full circle in the end. In other words, everything had to be resolved and restored. My initial thoughts could possibly be due to my fondness of classic Disney movies. In most classic Disney movies, the bad guys always failed and the good guys prevailed. Better yet, the good guys were able to lead lives that were unaffected—maybe even better than before (such as Beauty and the Beast, Snow White, Robin Hood—the list goes on).
But lately as I started paying close attention to movies and stories—and even in my writing, I found stories more compelling and realistic that didn’t follow the path to happily ever after. These stories may not necessarily end up being negative or depressing, or even full of failure, but in these stories, something was lost, sacrifices were made, and regret or disappointment was present. In these stories, I found the message to be more powerful and lingering. Some examples of stories/movies such as this are Gone With The Wind, The Phantom Of The Opera, and Titanic.
It’s not to say that good stories should not have happy endings. In fact, a story can be just as powerful that ends on a good note than one that doesn’t—it really depends mostly on the characters and plot and what message is born through the entire experience of the characters. But from what I was accustomed to thinking—that stories should end positively, that does not have to be the case. Sometimes the main character, or the good guy—the one you may be rooting for, does not have to succeed in the end. Like in real life, sometimes things don’t end well or are not restored to the way they originally were.