I have this tendency to want everyone to get along, to be happy and that there be little to no conflict. It just makes me uncomfortable. Of course, I know that this is impossible. It’s inevitable that someone will offend or upset another, a fight/argument ensues, friendships/relationships break up, etc.
As I was watching tons of TV and movies this past weekend, I realized that I tend to write that same way–idealistically. In film/tv/theatre (and even in life in general), things don’t always make sense, things don’t always end up the way you think they should. But isn’t that what makes them so good?
For example, in Sex and the City (the first movie), Samantha (of all people) has been in a monogamous relationship for 5 years. Smith (her boyfriend) is a GREAT guy, and Samantha is faithful to him. But when his hectic work schedule pulls him away, she misses out on sex—her TRUE love. In order to stop herself from cheating, she eats. Everytime she gets “the urge”, she eats as a substitute. After talking with her friends, it appears that she feels she is losing sight of who she is; she is lost inside the relationship, and she is unhappy. She rationalizes that since Smith stayed with her through cancer/chemo that she should be able to stay with him through this point in their lives. Inevitably, she leaves him.
Initially, I thought, “Yeah, she should stay with him. It’s just a rough patch. They love each other and they’ll make it through.” But after thinking about it some more I thought about who Samantha “is”. As sad as it was for her to leave Smith, it actually made sense–for her. Were it another character, it may have made sense for them to stay with Smith.
I have to work on that in my writing. I have to be comfortable with putting my characters in uncomfortable situations. Everyone can’t always end up happily ever after.