For new writers, it is tempting to let drama and heartache swamp our stories. Now, while the saying is “only trouble is interesting,” today, I’d like to talk about how happiness can be just as moving/interesting as tragedy and that it is okay to let our characters be happy. Trouble gives the heroine a journey, but those moments of happiness give the heroine the hope and courage she needs to see the journey through.
4 Uses for Happy Moments:
1. Contrast. I find that one of the most important reasons for happy moments is to contrast them with the dark of the past, present or even the future. If our character is always a bubbling fountain of happiness, it makes them flat and frankly, unrealistic. If the character is always dark, it helps to reveal to the reader the why behind their actions. Everyone has ups and down, but it’s important to remember the ups.
2. Balance. Having too much heaviness in the story will bog down your reader. I don’t know about you, but I enjoy getting lost in the story and rejoicing with the heroine! You need to have happiness to add balance to the story and give the reader’s heart a break.
3. Hope. What greater motivation is there to get through trials for a heroine than that of hope for a “happily ever after?” Now, for the heroine, her idea of a happy ending might be that her family is fed, she lands a job that keeps her out of the poor house, she meets her true love or finally has the long awaited child. Use their hope to add light to their journey.
4. Transport. It’s also said that reading is dreaming with the eyes open, but not all stories have to be one giant, horrible nightmare to make them interesting. The plot could be as simple as a girl wanting to do something more with her life that what society has dealt her. I find that these simple stories, if well done, can transport the reader from their world into the character’s world.
Ex: Think of Anne of Green Gables. Was there ever a happier daydreaming girl? Her only troubles were her red hair, the spelling of her name and her longing to being called Cordelia. She didn’t suffer horrible tragedies all the time. Her greatest loss was of Matthew, but Lucy Maud Montgomery didn’t allow the loss to consume Anne; rather, she used it as a tool to bond her and Marilla together all the more. Memories of Matthew, though sad with his parting, were all happy.
Some people read to lose the sorrows of their reality and only want a happy book with a happy ending. Don’t underestimate the power of happiness with a sprinkle of “trouble.” Those are often the best books.
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