I’ve just finished a “guy book” that upset me a lot. I won’t tell you the name of the book, but it was about a woman lawyer whose husband was accused of murder. She loved him and defended him at his trial. During the story, I got to know and like the heroine. Several times, she questioned whether her husband was really innocent. But she always regained her faith in him. After she won an acquittal, the author had the brilliant idea of having her find out that the guy was really guilty. Not just guilty, but a psychopath. When she confronted him, he tried to kill her. And she ended up shooting him in self-defense.
I’d gone through a deeply emotional experience with the heroine. I rooted for her to win the court case–in the face of a hostile judge and a lot of dirty tricks from the prosecution. She beat them, but at the end of the book, her life was destroyed. Why? I guess because the author thought it was a neat twist.
There is no way in hell I’d ever write a story like that. I put my hero and heroine through terrible trials. I test their resolve and their character and their love for each other. But I end the story with them happy together. Because that’s what I want to read. And write. There’s enough bad stuff going on in the world without inventing more.
But I think that’s not the only reason. When I write, I AM my characters. I’m totally involved with the good guys. I get to be THEM while I’m working on the story. So I write the ending that I’d want to have for me.
So is that other author a pragmatist–writing what he thinks the market wants? And I’m sucked into my own fantasy? Interesting question. And I don’t know the answer.