Wednesday, September 06, 2006
As You Like It
It seems I have struck a nerve.
A nerve which is found in almost all of you that is simply an extension of your natural tendency to be nice to people: you want good people to have good things happen to them and bad people to go to jail.
I think most of your expectations were summed up by Angie's post:
"NOT COOL. the romantic people are supposed to live forever in happiness, not die and go to jail."
My question is this: Do you think the end was poorly written, or did you simply not like it because of the content?
My guess is that most of you were simply depressed, and therefore I believe an explanation is necessary.
When I finished part 4, I knew I basically had two options:
One: I could go with Kelly's method, involving a ridiculous cliché:
"I DON'T WANT ALICE TO DIE. THAT'S NOT HOW A GOOD LOVE STORY WORKS. she's supposed to be hit, but not dead right away. then you run to her side. "Alice, oh no alice. What have i done?! i love you, don't leave me!" then Alice says "These last few days with you were beyond my wildest dreams. Don't ever forget me. I-- I love you ....(falls down dead). Then you go" No, don't leave me. Alice. ALICE!!!!!!!
Then you angrily look at the killer and kill him in revenge for Alice. The police come and somehow you get off even."
This I actually considered, but decided, though my readers may enjoy it most, it was selling out. It made the story a useless piece of Hollywood crap that, despite the fact that people would like it, it would make me feel as though I hadn't evoked the proper response. In short, I would have been betraying the characters.
Two: I could do what I did, make a depressing ending bound to be unpopular. This was preferable to me mainly because I felt it was the thing that was bound to happen anyway. It would also evoke a lot of different responses, as it did.
The problem an author would face in killing off Alice and sending George to jail is that they would feel bad for the characters and the audience. I am not that way with my characters or my audience. I write my stories without emotion, and therefore care very little about the welfare of my characters, and I want to evoke a response from my audience, be it positive or negative.
I'm nowhere near as cool as Peter, and I hardly aspire to be, but I give him my apathy. Though I would say I am more apathetic than compassionate, I would say that tiny hint of compassion in me keeps me from being as cruel as Peter. Peter, on the other hand, is simply a cold-blooded murderer. He is not emotional about it as George is, but rather kills when he feels it is necessary.
This is how I am with my stories. I kill when I feel it is necessary. To bring out the emotional response that I wanted from my audience, I needed to dispose of Alice. She is the most likable character in this story mainly because she is the most human. If I had killed George you may have been mildly sad, but not nowhere near as angry as you were when Alice died.
The symbolism in the story is subtle, but it's there. It shows that in battle, a person who ignores their emotions (or better yet, has no emotions) will always triumph over those who react based on their emotions. However the person who acts based on reason will almost always be percieved as the "bad guy".
Another complaint I recieved was that I "left you hanging". I don't think there is any question as to what is going to happen next for those of you that see the story as Peter would, without emotion. Even those of you who are very emotional towards the story see what is going to happen. George is going to jail.
I think that there would be no question in your mind what would happen if the roles were switched and Peter was locked in that room. You would all know that the bad guy was going to jail. But George is the hero, so you are grasping at straws. You need him to be free, despite the fact that his fate was sealed. You assume the door is wooden and it could be kicked open, you assume that he could have killed the guards with the knife despite the fact that they have guns. You assume he could have out-gunned the guards and police and that after he escaped the police would not look for him.
George wasn't a good guy and he's going to jail. He killed John, and even if it was an accident he still was trying to kill the man talking. He went to try to kill Peter when he should have been solving Alice's case. You know so little about him, but you assume he a good person.
Alice was really the only innocent one. She killed one person to save George and then didn't tell him about the phone call, but otherwise she was pretty good. As far as you know.
But I think you should just understand how life works most of the time:
Bad things happen to good people.
((note: this is not an angry post. the comments I recieved were very good and I enjoyed reading them very much. please don't freak out at me, because I know one of you will write one of those long comments about how stupid this post was. I'm going to resume posting normally tomorrow.))