In perhaps the most redundant goal ever set, I recently decided to read more. Writing (and the Day Job) have been fairly all-consuming lately, and I haven’t been reading as much. So last night, I took a few minutes to clear my mental palate, as it were, and read a couple short stories.
Allow me to digress for a moment. I will address later my own reasons for and difficulties with writing short stories, but that’s not what this post is about. It’s more on the existential side of things, where I talk about art and the state of it because I know it can’t be nailed to to a strict definition and therefore my position is unassailable like some Amanda Palmer (NSFW BEWBS if you’re uninitiated) fan. So if you’re here for my usual asshattery (IT’S A THING), maybe check back tomorrow.
Ahem. Where was I? Oh, yes, state of art and all that. So I read two short stories and, if you’ll permit me another digression, they were both fantastic. I really, thoroughly enjoyed both. Here’s the problem I have, though: at the end of both I was left feeling… unclean. Both endings were disturbing and dark. Now I, of all people, do not have a problem with dark and disturbing stories. For the most part, I seek them out, so I’m not complaining here. However, it seems more and more of what is out there ends on a completely down note.
My favorite ending of all time is The Count of Monte Christo- it’s hardly a happy ending, but elements of it are uplifting and it leaves with a sense of all being right. I’m not saying books should have ‘happily ever after’ endings, but in the same way the completely horrible ending (a la the original Silent Hill) removes a lot of the believability of the thing.
In addition, isn’t this world dark enough? I’ve often said that the greatest challenge I face as a writer is that I cannot make up bad guys as evil as some of the people in this world. So is it worth the effort to try? Can’t my bad guys be bad enough without going to the Nth degree (see rule No. 3)?
In any case, there is no large point here and I am certainly not going to tell anyone how to write their stories. I just wanted to throw my two cents out there.