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Why write stories with a happy ending?

12/14/2014

Monique McDonell Books and Champagne
It’s Monday and I usually do a Musical Monday post but as I went to write this the city of Sydney, my city, is under siege and so I thought I might write about something else.

When I started writing lots of people were surprised that I decided to write chicklit and stories with an upbeat, romantic bent. Not because I’m not an upbeat person, I actually am, but because there is a huge perception, especially in more intellectual circles, that lighter fiction, happier fiction has less value and is less worthy. The truth is I know lots of people who don’t think my writing is worthy and others who think I’m wasting my talents (on the one hand it is nice they think I have talents, on the other hand that’s not exactly very supportive). In fact, some of those would cite the fact that I’ve written several books (if asked) as evidence of that, because one angst-ridden novel is far more valuable than several lighter ones (in their opinion).

The truth is – and it has certainly taken me a long time to reach this point – I don’t care what they think, and furthermore I think they’re wrong. The world needs more joy, more hope and more optimism.

Sadness begets sadness, joy begets joy.

If some of the world’s great writers wrote stories with less abuse, less torture, less war maybe we would have book clubs sitting around discussing love, kindness and forgiveness. Maybe if there were more redemptive tales we’d feel that there was hope for redemption.

Maybe if the nice guy came first every now and then maybe we’d be more likely to be nice in real life.

I write stories with happy endings because I want everyone to have one. Do we all want to walk around thinking we’ll never find love, that good won’t triumph or that misery is living in the house next door? I don’t.

It might seem naive or foolish to some but negative thinking, exclusion and greed are everywhere. I can turn on the television, go to the movies or peruse the best seller list and there they are. The world isn’t improving as a result.

I want to focus on the power of friendship to improve your day, how a small flirtation can lift your spirits, how planning a grand adventure, a new start or a change can be a thing of wonder. Maybe I write stories like that because I need to believe that is true, or maybe I’m just lucky enough to have experienced that in my own life so I don’t think it’s wrong to expect it in novels.

I’ll continue to write about and hope for happy endings not just for my characters but for people everywhere.

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