inferiorwit: (socks)
[personal profile] inferiorwit
I know I’ve talked about this before, but I’m really sick of seeing writers who should know better say things like, “Tragedy is more compelling than stories where characters have a nice day and nothing bad happens!” without understanding why.
Tragedy is an effective story element when it’s a deviation from the norm. A character’s peaceful existence is disrupted by a catastrophic event that throws everything into chaos. The character now has to either develop so they can cope with the new status quo, or find a way to put things back the way they were. There’s a good story in that.
But when a character’s life is an unrelenting cavalcade of misery, another heaping dose of shit isn’t all that interesting. At that point, a compelling deviation from the norm would be said character having a nice day where nothing bad happens. And modern fiction is chock-full of misery porn, so by this logic, it’s no wonder the coffee shop AU is such a popular fanfiction trope.
Derek Hale getting a dog and putting his life back together is way more interesting than Derek Hale’s life getting worse for the 26th consecutive episode. Creators like to hold up “everything is fine and nobody dies” as a sign that fanfic is bland and badly written, but if anything, it’s an indicator that mainstream fiction is bland and badly written. 

Date: 2016-06-12 01:46 am (UTC)
hallowspite: (Default)
From: [personal profile] hallowspite
I have a hardon for misery porn but that's because the reason why I like the idea of misery porn in the first place is because, if done right, it has themes of tenacity -- of never giving up no matter how bad it gets, of doing what has to be done to claw out of that pit.

But randomly torturing a character for amusement... kinda... goes against that. For misery porn to be done well the character has to recover in some way. Even if things never get objectively better we should see the character steeling themselves, becoming stronger inside, becoming better able to cope with getting shit slung at them. Even if everything falls apart I want them to still be standing and acknowledging that it's time to rebuild, and to never stop trying.

I wish there was more of that. It's either "happy endings get handed to you on a plate YAY" or "ha ha ha resistance is futile." Where's the stories for those of us who know things will never get better, where are the stories that will teach us how to live with that? I needed that so badly as a kid, and while "HA HA HA MORE MISERY~!" isn't the answer I feel like escapism is held up as the One True Way to deal with trauma or depression. Escapism made me feel worse, because I got tired of characters who got lucky when I never did. I wanted to know how to handle it if things never got better, but escapism never taught me how because the characters got plucked out of the fire each time, and it was so hard for me as a kid to find books about people who went through hell and actually dealt with it, actually faced it, without the author flinching at the last second.

But nobody ever wants to hear that, or even acknowledge it.

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