I’ve been musing about whether my views of life, the universe, everything are reflected in the fiction I write. In real life I’m a optimistic person. I try my hardest to make the best out of things, to try, to have fun, and treasure those I love. I know that bad things happen to good people, that there is little correlation between virtue and a happy life. Sometimes tragedy comes out the sky, it strikes and there is very little you can do to prevent. So why worry? Instead focus on the good things in life, the things that you as an individual have control over.
As a writer I take great pleasure in being a god in my own self created universe. As such I want my good characters to have nice things happen to them and evil doers to be punished. Simple, non? Boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl, they live happily ever after. Great for the characters as people, less interesting in narrative terms. Conflict drives the story. So I do horrible, horrendous things to my characters. I punish them. I give them what they want only to take it away or have it turn out that it wasn’t what they wanted after all. I am an old testament smotey god.
But the problems/conflicts are often, inevitably of the characters own making. Because although I do believe that sometimes bad situations happen to good people, it deepens the drama for me if the characters partially create and are responsible for their own downfall (think Macbeth whose cycle of violence springs relentlessly back on himself ‘I am so steeped in blood that, should I wade no more/ Returning is as difficult as going over to the other side’).
I like HEA (happy ever afters) but I need my characters to earn them. To grow and to change throughout the process of the books only then do they get their HEA.