Friday, March 13, 2009

Happy Friday the 13th!

How are we all on this fabulous, fantastic Friday the 13th? It could just be the caffeine talking, but I am having an amazing day.

When I wrote FRAGMENTS—particularly the interludes—I had the Viva La Vida album on heavy repeat. For a while, my facebook status claimed I was listening to unhealthy amounts of Coldplay. This was due to how the album musically—and in cases, lyrically—synced with what I was writing. The inside of Ethanael's head sort of sounds like a personal Coldplay best of playlist. I'm not certain what that says about either of us.

Anyway, I'm going to see Coldplay live at GM Place on June 20th! Got the tickets in the internet pre-sale this morning. Thanks Good Morning Kamloops.

Spent some time talking to Michelle (Or is it Mikelle?) from Kamloops This Week about the Tarot Cafe Novel event at Chapters next week. It was a lot of fun, and I'm happy she indulged my slight ramblings about the novel, the genre, the experience, and steampunk.

I take it as sign that two people I've spoken to today are excited about steampunk that it's time to stop hiding behind the "need" for research and get writing. Once I finish reading a manuscript for a friend, of course. (Motivation.)

Tonight, I'm finally getting around to seeing The Watchmen movie. A friend and I were discussing the graphic novel yesterday, as I finished reading it earlier this week.

Mostly we were talking about the ending and the impact that it has. How the book leaves you feeling. In a word: Dirty. Like you want to go scrub out your brain. As brilliant as The Watchmen is, it was not something I enjoyed having in my head. Why am I going to see the movie? A curiosity at Hollywood's take on something so immense. It is the kind of work that has so many layers and so much going on that it takes a while to digest it.

I've expressed feeling in a similar way about Code Geass, but the finale of that series left me feeling moved. Awed. Not like everything was pointless.

Maybe that isn't what The Watchmen intends for us to feel, but there is this concept in both works that to in order to effect great meaningful change, you have to become evil. The difference between the two is The Watchmen doesn't let you go inside the head of the person responsible, whereas Code Geass walks you down the path with Lelouche. For me, that's why Code Geass works better. Isn't as soul-crushing when you make that individual the protagonist.

In thinking about this, I'm reminded about the choices we have to make as storytellers regarding the mechanics of how we tell the story. Especially when you get multiple viewpoints. Let me cite Heroes as an example. The greatest fault of this show isn't that it's broken its own established rules, as one friend claims, because long before it did that... it suffered not knowing who it's main protagonist is. That's where Lost succeed, in that it knows Doctor Jack is the main character, regardless of the ensemble cast and their many intertwining stories.

You can argue Peter and Claire are the main characters of Heroes, but the show can't seem to make that final decision. It's jumping to whomever the fans want to see—and secondary characters that become fan favorites aren't meant to be the main protagonists. Those characters do well because we get them in small, measured doses.

I had a similar issue with THE TALE OF ARIAKE. There's a secondary protagonist named Calli Bennett, who is our viewpoint character. She's the human we can follow, but it's not her story. The story belongs to a character named Ken. We meet him first for a reason. That's a choice I made, even knowing that the book would sell better if it was Calli's story.

We consciously choose—or I hope you are—whose story we tell. We choose what kind of ending it gets—and once again I hope it's a conscious choice of the ending that the story needs.

So what I'm interested in hearing about from all of you is what you feel drawn to—do you want a "happy" ending, do you get upset when there's an "unhappy" ending? Or are you content so long as the ending suits the story? Do you think what kind of ending people prefer is a result of their attitude and general outlook?

WARNING: There is a spoiler for The Watchmen movie in the comment section. (I didn't enjoy it enough not to ruin for it you.)


Zita said...

I firmly in the "as long as it suits the story" camp. Happy endings are nice, but when they don't make sense it's more unsettling than a sad ending would be.

That Girl said...

As long as it suits the story. That said, I do seek out stories that are well suited by a happy ending... not necessarily an all-tied-up-in-a-tidy-bow fairy tale ending, but at the VERY least some sort of hope.

Sarah K said...

I'd like to say 'as long as it suits the story', but honestly, I find there is enough not happy in the world around me to want to want to submerge myself into a story that is not going to leave me feeling at least a little bit good. I'll still like the ending that suited the story but wasn't necessarily happy, but I'll be cranky about it at the same time.

I just don't like to spend my diversionary time being sad.

And your one word description of The Watchmen is very apt. Dirty is exactly how I felt.

Also, be prepared for Ozymandias not being able to decide what accent he has.

Chandra Rooney said...

I'm lending you the comic just so you can see how it really went down. Dr. Manhattan the alien threat, my ass.

Sarah K said...


we saw that article in the Kamloops This Week yesterday! 3/4 page! Yay you!

Rachel said...

I love Friday the 13th. It's always a good day for me.