A Sparkling Personality Type

I’d like to think of myself as a purely scientific person all the time. I wish I could say I always listen to facts and only facts… but listen, I love personality tests.

And I know there’s a lot to be said about the legitimacy of a test that claims to understand your entire life and personality through only a few questions. I know personality quizzes tend to pull off their eerie accuracy through making sweeping, vague statements that almost anyone can relate to. That’s how completely unscientific classifications like horoscopes work, but it’s more or less how more specific personality tests operate as well.

Still… I can’t help but love them.

A few days ago, I was hanging out in my dorm floor’s lounge when my business school roommate announced she was taking the Myers-Briggs personality test for a class. This sparked a conversation throughout the lounge as everyone took the test for themselves and excitedly shared their results.

The Myers-Briggs personality test creates an overview of how a person interacts with the world. It involves four categories of two possibilities each. You can either be an Introvert (I) or an Extravert (E) which determines whether you focus on your inner world or your outer world, Sensing (S) or Intuition (N) which determines whether you’re satisfied with basic information or you prefer to interpret it for yourself, Thinking (T) or Feeling (F) which determines if you approach problems emotionally or logically first, and finally Judging (J) or Perceiving (P) which determines whether you prefer to have decisions made for you or prefer to make decisions yourself. I had already taken the test years before and gotten the result of INFJ (Introvert, Intuition, Feeling, Judging).

I retook the test to the same result and found myself shocked at the incredible accuracy of the ensuing description. How did they know so much about my life, my world-view, my relationships, my goals?

Well… it’s a detailed test. But it also made me think about personality tests in general and how despite their sometimes shaky scientific merit, there’s still something valuable about them.

See, I’ve spent a lot of time lately thinking about myself. I assume it’s a college thing, to start thinking about the person you want to be and the life you want to live, but I think those thoughts also lead to having to think about your current life. I’ve made a lot of realizations about myself in the last two years or so that have brought all nineteen years of my life into clarity. I imagine that process will most likely continue for the rest of my life.

But it’s not an easy process. I think you become so used to the way your own brain works that it’s hard to step out of it, per se, and look at it critically. The fact that it’s taken me so long to figure out some fundamental things about myself speaks to this difficulty.

So I think there’s something to these personality quizzes. As much as they may not be the most scientific thing in existence, they do provide a pretty easy avenue to talking about yourself. It’s much easier to identify yourself as an INFJ, or a Virgo, or a Ravenclaw than someone with a lot of empathy, or someone who likes to have control over every situation, or someone who is more comfortable with books than with people.

It’s hard to sit down with other people and talk about yourself seriously – you’ve gotta overcome that modesty barrier, and you’ve gotta be brave and vulnerable. But when you’re talking in fun categories, in personality types, it takes down these barriers somewhat.

I mean, I could see that firsthand that night in the lounge. We excitedly shared deep details about how our minds work, how we view relationships and goals. I learned a lot of personal detail about the people on my floor, and it was fascinating and beautiful.

And it was all inspired by a personality test – a collection of four letters. And in that moment I was convinced that even if personality tests aren’t always based in facts, they’re still an excellent tool for self-reflection and self-discovery. And isn’t that a unique and useful thing worth celebrating?

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The Boys are Back – “One Foot” Review

So I’d say it’s been a pretty good birthday week.

It was actually on Monday, my real birthday, when I first saw Walk the Moon’s vague announcement-of-an-announcement coming today on their Twitter page. I wasn’t sure whether we’d be getting an announcement of an album or of a song, but I was excited about any information about my favorite band. After all, since their last album “Talking is Hard” they’ve been more or less missing in action. (For good reason, but still.)

So, I turned on my Twitter notifications and lo and behold, right before Spanish class this morning, I got the news. They’re back! Today, they dropped their new single “One Foot.” I’ll get more into it, but spoiler alert, it’s good.

(Ah how I missed Nicholas Petricca’s lame dance moves.)

Now first off I’ll say to anyone who is concerned about Walk the Moon’s more rock-influenced style being put aside in order to pursue more “mainstream” styles, I wanna remind them that this is the first single off of their new album. In vein of “Shut Up and Dance,” “One Foot” is definitely the kind of song that’s meant to be radio-friendly and danceable. And honestly? That’s not a negative.

I think Walk the Moon does a lot of things right (obviously, they’re my favorite band) but one of those things is that their explorations of pop music are never shallow. Such is the case with “One Foot.”

It has dense, well-written lyrics with some fun rhyming conventions. As a lyrics fan, this song gets a big A+ for me. I love the riff in the second verse where the lines all start to rhyme with “dust.” It’s clever and fun and fast-paced and I’m a big fan. I also love the “King of Nothing at All, Queen of Nothing at All” motif. It’s a pretty lyric.

As far as instrumentation goes, I was a little disappointed at first. I felt like a lot of the instrumental choices mirror a lot of the stuff you hear on the radio nowadays, especially the kind of squeal-ish repetitive electronic sounds. Honestly though, after my third or fourth listen, I found myself making peace with them. They at the very least jibed with the spacey sound of the rest of the track, and I trust my boys to use even overplayed tools and instruments well.

Of course, the vocals are spot on. I could spin posts and posts and posts about how much I love Nicholas Petricca’s vocal work, and he’s done it again with this song. His voice is always so clear and fun and lively, and it works so well for this kind of dance track.

Overall, I’m satisfied with this comeback. I think this song has the makings to catapult Walk the Moon back into the public spotlight, which is exactly what they need. And they definitely haven’t sacrificed quality. I still felt like I was listening to a Walk the Moon song when listening to this track, and honestly that was all I really needed.

I don’t want to spend too much time on speculation because it doesn’t in the end do much good, but I do have to comment on where I think their next album is probably going. Based on this track as well as what we’ve heard from “Tiger Teeth,” which has already been more or less confirmed to be on the album, I think their next album is going to have a bit slower of a sound. “Talking is Hard” is an album full of frenetic songs, focusing on energy and fun. While I definitely think that characteristic Walk the Moon energy will be present in this new album, I think we’ll be seeing them slow down and look inward a little more. I think that’s a great thing for them.

I’m anxiously awaiting more information about the future of this band, and there’s no doubt I’ll be writing more about them as we hear more.

The Death of a Pony

Recently, I’ve found myself doing what I thought I’d never do again – playing a browser-based pet game.

That’s right, gape in shock and awe at all the time I’ve spent recently on Lioden and Tattered Weave, two games featuring cute, multicolored animals to raise and train.

These sort of games are definitely, definitely not new for me. My parents and old friends can attest to how much time I used to spend on games like Neopets, Webkinz, Howrse, and the topic of this post: Ponystars.

Usually I like to try and draw some sort of philosophical or analytical point in these posts, but to be honest, I want this post to commemorate a community that was really important to me years ago that now no longer exists. I don’t really have any kind of deeper point to this other than a chance to remember how important it was to me back in the day.

Nowadays, a Google search for Ponystars will probably pull up a few scattered news articles about its untimely demise at the hands of copyright law as well some broken links from “girl gaming” websites. There’s a Facebook group remembering the site, but it hasn’t been updated in a long, long time. Google Images pulls up a few pictures of the ponies and screenshots of the website back when it was still up and running. But no one really talks about it anymore and that makes me kind of sad, honestly.

I joined Ponystars back in 2009, when I was ten years old. I was a horse-obsessed kid back then, even though I had never really ridden horses. I was raised on My Little Pony. I loved animals. So Ponystars appealed to me immediately. A website that lets me raise and breed multi-colored pastel ponies? Uh, yes please.

My first pony was a winged air pony named Magenta. She had, as her name suggests, a magenta coat, blue eyes, and a green mane. Later in life I gave her a little tattoo on her butt cutiemark-style of a rainbow-and-music-note design. In the rich story I made up in my head around my ponies, she was a beautiful and lively queen of her herd.

Her king was a horned earth pony named Ice Blizzard, all blue with brown eyes. I was delighted to discover they bred to produce lots of cute purple ponies (my favorite color.)

The breeding quickly became one of my favorite aspects of the game. You could breed two pony parents together and their coat, mane, and eye colors became the range of colors their offspring’s coat, mane, and eye colors could be. I would give these ponies long, elaborate names, often inspired by songs or book quotes.

(Off the top of my head, I remember one cream colored, blue-maned air pony named “Lost in Space with Nothing but a Few Cream Puffs and My Dignity, Sort Of.” I couldn’t make that one up if I tried.)

Another obsession of mine in the breeding aspect of the game was breeding for “glitches.”

When you begin the game, you roll for your first pony by designing their parents. You pick their coat, mane, and eye colors by setting the RGB values. You could pick from a color picker, but for a short time early in the site’s history, you could also just type the numerical RGB values in directly. And while that’s all fine and good, it allowed for some… er… interesting experiments.

Some enterprising early users used this creator to create ponies with colors wildly outside of the RGB range. Some, called “Plitches,” had RGB values of higher than the standard 255, 255, 255 maximum. They usually appeared bright red or orange, but in rarer cases could appear black, white, or green. “Glitches,” on the other hand, were rarer still, and had values lower than 0,0,0. Their color ranges varied much more wildly than Plitches did, which made them ultimately more valuable.

Eventually, the glitch was fixed and ponies were no longer able to be created with these impossible color ranges, but the ponies that had already been created remained, and people learned how to breed more. The easiest way was to breed two glitched parents together, but even in that case it was rare that their glitched colors would pass on to their offspring. It was also possible to breed an all black pony (0,0,0) to a glitched pony to create glitched offspring, but that was even more rare and difficult.

I can’t remember if I ever successfully bred my own glitched pony, but I certainly spent a lot of the in-game currency on buying them from other users. They were my prized possessions.

Another aspect of the game that convinced me to sink real-life money was the customization options. There existed hundreds of “traits” in the game – little clothing items you could buy and dress up your pony with. These items ranged from accessories, to special coats, manes, hooves, backgrounds, and props the pony could be displayed with. Most of these items could only be bought for the special paid currency, so I convinced my parents to buy me gift cards for them on many occasions. I took pride in customizing my ponies, matching colors and styles and tweaking them until they were just right.

Was the amount of money I spent on this doomed game a total waste? Oh yes, absolutely.

However, I think through all the breeding and customization of those pretty, pretty ponies, it was the community that kept me coming back. The website had a large, populated forum for discussing the game with other users. People would use these forums not only to chat but also to run contests, giveaways, and even tiny in-game businesses – selling items and ponies to other users. I spent hours and hours on these forums – probably more time than I spent on the actual website.

However, the biggest aspect of the community came in the special Ponystars IRC, or Internet Relay Chat. It was a website-sponsored instant messaging website, and there I spent a ton of time chatting with people not only about the website, but about life.

It’s strange, to me, looking back on these days. I’ve never really been the sort of person to have Internet friends, but my time on Ponystars was the only exception. I knew the regulars of the IRC like I knew real-life friends. We had inside jokes. We helped each other out with customization and naming advice. We held giveaways. We talked about our lives.

And you know the weirdest part? A ton of those people were way, way older than me. And not in a creepy, internet predator way. I mean, a lot of my closest friends on this website were teenagers, or college-aged, or even parents with children! I remember often being the youngest in the group chat, and being praised for my maturity.

Nowadays that sends off all sorts of creeper bells in my head, but back in the day I didn’t worry about it. We were all connected in our love of our pastel ponies. (I mean, granted, there was no sharing of personal information, since we all tended to go by our usernames and there were rules against sharing anything else that might be incriminating, but still.)

And then, after a few years, Ponystars was struck by a litany of copyright claims from another, similar website called PonyIsland, and the website was unceremoniously closed down for good. I remember saving pictures of all of my favorite ponies, and mourning their loss with the other members of my little IRC community.

I looked for those pictures in the process of creating this post, but to my dismay, I couldn’t find them. I imagine they’re probably rotting in a dusty corner of one of my Mom’s old laptops. And I still sometimes stop and wonder what happened to all those people I used to talk to so regularly. Where are they now? What sort of lives do they leave? Do they remember me, gillystar45, young in age but “mature?”

I’d love to talk to some of them again. Maybe that’s the point of this post, But it’s a long shot. The more realistic purpose is to pay homage to a personally important, dearly departed website.

Will I ever find another pet website quite like Ponystars? Probably not. But then again, I’ll never be that same horse-obsessed ten-year-old girl. But I can still remember those days, full of pastel prettiness and a unique community.

Writing Advice (For Mortals)

When I first heard about the controversy surrounding the previously-unknown YA novel Handbook for Mortals, I was immediately engrossed in a tale that seemed to constantly outdo itself in juicy, dramatic twists and turns. It would take an entire separate blog post to parse the dense threads of intrigue involved in this story, so I instead urge you to read the link I provided to contextualize today’s blog post.

And while yes, it would be fun to provide my amusement on just how deep this story goes, or how incredibly disgusting I find its author and its publishing company, I feel as though you can probably draw your own conclusions on those topics. What I instead intend is to use some of the awful writing in this terrible book as a sort of “What Not to Do” of sorts for newcomers to writing.

Now, I do need to say that I have not read this book. And, unless I find a free version, I will not read this book. I don’t really want to support this author and this publishing company. That being said, I will try not to judge the book by anything other than what is contained in the two excerpts I will be using.

(But, honestly, if I do end up judging the book by something beyond the excerpts… I still think I’ll sleep well tonight.)

The excerpts I will be using are pasted below. Both are passages from early on in the book, used mainly as description of the book’s main character and first-person narrator, Zade.

 

So, What’s the Problem with it?

While I think it’s pretty obvious that these two passages are written in a… let’s say… juvenile manner, it may be difficult to parse what exactly makes them sound so cringe-worthy.

So, let’s start with what’s wrong with these passages.

Slow and Lengthy Loses Everythinng

I think the first problem to discuss is the incredible length of both of these passages. Combined, these two passages probably equal about a normal novel-page of text. All things considered, that’s a pretty sizable amount of story we’re talking about. Sure, it’s not a whole chapter, but you could still expect a reader to spend a few minutes with this text.

Normally, as a writer, your biggest mission is to get people to keep reading. Most authors attempt to grab a hold of their readers by constantly presenting them with story beats to keep them interested and paying attention. For that reason, it’s important that every paragraph has a purpose. For some paragraphs, that purpose is to move the story forward, while other serve to provide exposition on important characters and settings.

These paragraphs, as I mentioned above, serve to give the reader a feel for the character of Zade by telling the readers what she looks like and how she relates to her environment. But it does so with the least amount of efficiency possible.

See, pretend you’re a reader who just wants to read a paranormal romance that topped the New York Times bestseller list for… a bit. You picked up “Handbook for Mortals” with an expectation that there will be a cool, magical storyline or intriguing romance. Either way, you’ll want things to happen as soon as possible, to progress towards either of these possibilities. And yet, in this entire page’s worth of text… neither of these things happen.

So what really happens in either of these chunks of text? Zade does some hair pushing and… she looks a bit at the sky? In nearly a page’s worth of text the story does not move a single inch forward. That’s a pretty good way to get your readers to put the book down immediately.

And sure, one might argue that, even as nothing has happened, the reader has still gotten a sense of the sort of person she is, but the thing is, well…

The First Person Problem

Zade is the narrator of this story. Every part of the novel will contain her own personal opinions on the world around her. For this reason, it’s more or less pointless to take this time to make her stop and comment on the weather of all things. The fact that she’s a little offbeat and out-of-place in her hometown is a fact that can be more naturally and efficiently revealed by having her do anything other than just stand there and wax poetic on the weather.

And what’s more, having Zade come out and say these things about herself violates suspension of disbelief. For those unfamiliar with the term – suspension of disbelief refers to the sort-of pact between a creator of media and the consumers. While consumers acknowledge that the thing they are consuming is a work of fiction, and therefore will not necessarily adhere to the rules of the real world, the creator of the media must adhere to some rules of the fictional world, though these rules might not be grounded in reality.

In this case, the breaking of this suspension of disbelief comes in the simple fact that we are given access to a person’s thoughts in the form of Zade’s first-person narration. As such, the narration should, more or less, conform to what a normal person’s thought process would sound like. There’s no in-universe explanation for why Zade would constantly think about her own appearance and personality in such an explanatory way, and so the illusion is broken. The readers know that Zade is only thinking these things to provide exposition, and thus the prose becomes false-sounding and not believable.

Everything, All at Once

Another problem afflicting these two passages is the sheer density of information being thrown at the reader. I mentioned before that this passage is too lengthy, but it’s also too dense in information.

In most cases, it doesn’t matter what the protagonist’s hair color or body type is. It may be worth it to mention physical traits of each character in passing, but long, overly-detailed descriptions are boring, and ultimately don’t help the reader understand the characters any more than a quick, simple description would.

This is because, in most cases, readers are forming their own mental image of what a character looks like. Just because a reader isn’t told the exact curvature of the protagonist’s body doesn’t mean the reader is picturing a floating head in their mind when they think of a character. It’s more efficient, and often overall better to allow readers to form their own mental images of characters and settings, only providing a few select descriptions where appropriate to guide their views.

In addition, as I mentioned above, spelling out Zade’s “quirky” personality so blatantly violates the classic rule of “show don’t tell.” There’s no need to blatantly tell readers this. It only adds to the information dump and will be ultimately unnecessary since personality information is always better shown through the character’s interactions with other characters and their surroundings.

So How Do We Improve?

So I’ve torn this passage down. How do we build it back up? Let’s take it step-by-step.

Just… Like… Chill

The problems both with length and with information density can be solved by simply… cutting all of this out. Almost the entirety of both of these excerpts could very easily be cut and would probably improve the natural flow of prose a ton.

“But then,” you ask, “How will readers know this important physical and characteristic information about the protagonist?”

Well… simple. Take this information and spread it throughout the regular story beats. Instead of slowing down and taking the time to describe everything about Zade all at once, allow the physical and personality characteristics to come up as they become necessary to the plot. It’s okay to mention little things about Zade in this scene where she jumps off the front porch, but don’t dump everything on the readers at once.

Perhaps, have another character mention her brightly colored hair? Or comment on how she’s changed the color recently, perhaps with a note of incredulousness? This could very easily lead not only to the physical information on Zade’s hair color, but also might allude to the way she doesn’t quite fit into her community.

Have a little trust in your readers not to melt into a puddle of confusion if they aren’t given all the information right off the bat. Just chill! Let the story reveal information naturally.

A Note on First-Person

I also think some of the problems of this prose could be solved by looking into some of the inherent difficulties that come along with first-person prose.

First of all, exposition is already kind of a difficult thing to integrate naturally into text. It’s hard to justify explaining important key details of the setting or characters without running into problems of suspension of disbelief. But these problems are compounded when you’re dealing with a first-person narrator. Because you’re more or less in the head of a character, reading their thoughts, it’s hard to justify the character thinking of things they should already know innately about their world, their comrades and enemies, and themselves.

So you run into a problem. How do you divulge this information to a reader without making your character seem like some sort of odd amnesiac?

One way is to put your character into totally new situations, so their inner narration commenting on the obvious makes logical sense, since they have just as much experience in the situation as the readers would. However, this doesn’t always work out for every story.

Another way involves allowing some information to remain vague. This can be a toss up as far as positives and negatives. On one hand, you don’t worry about suspension of disbelief and you also allow for some intrigue as the readers want to find out more about your world. However, on the other hand, you risk confusing readers. Really, it’s up for you to decide. Personally, I think a balance between intriguing and confusing can be struck, but it’s not always simple.

Or, you could consider a third-person narration instead. I understand the reason why first-person narrations are so popular. They can often create a very emotional and personal tone for a story. But they don’t always work out, especially for those stories that involve a lot of world building. Understand that first person doesn’t work for every story, and be open to experimenting from different perspectives.

A Final Note on Characterization

While I already said that I’ve never read Handbook for Mortals and I can’t comment on Zade’s character throughout the entire story, some parts of these two excerpts make me think that her characterization is probably a bit… er… flat.

This is a pretty common issue in juvenile fiction, but it is a little troubling in a story written by a grown, published author.

First of all, her character seems hinged on a lie that having personality quirks is something that only a few select people have. She speaks as if loving thunderstorms or coloring her hair is something that no one in the world has ever done. And that’s simply not true. So these statements that seem to be trying to make her character seem out-of-place and odd kind of fall flat.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to make a character special and different from those around her. (I mean, dang, she’s the protagonist. It’s not exactly a crazy thing to want.) But it’s important to ensure that the traits you’re saying make your character special are actually special. It’s that suspension of disbelief thing again – you can’t just say liking thunderstorms or coloring your hair is a crazy thing unless you make it clear that in your fictional world, these traits have an actual reason to seem out-of-place.

As it is, it seems Zade is living in a world similar to our own, a place where many people enjoy adverse weather or hair dye. Now, a world where these traits are uncommon could very well be a fictional world that the author wants to create. However, if this is the case, they need to make it clear from the get-go that this is a different world with different values we’re dealing with.

And so these are the ways that Handbook for Mortals could, in theory, be improved. There’s a lot of other problematic aspects in these excerpts (and most likely in the rest of the book) that could be improved, but I hope the select few things I have discussed in this blog post could turn this honestly terrible book into a learning experience. Take my advice and take this as a huge example of what not to do.

Either way though, happy writing! And remember… Zade does not have a thigh gap. (She does not! How could you even think that???)

 

In Defense of Happy Endings

I think, nowadays, media has forgotten the appeal of a happy ending.

There’s a certain clamor nowadays for gritty realism in fiction. For violence, for heartbreak, for bittersweet endings.

It’s not exactly a earth-shattering revelation to say that this clamor comes from our own often dark, violent, bittersweet world. But I feel in the same vein, stories that aren’t like that often get cut down for being too unrealistic. We live in a world where optimistic media is seen as unrealistic and avoided as such.

Isn’t that depressing? It is to me.

I think it’s easy to forget in the wash of gritty realism and horror and dark reimaginings that the very heart of media is to provide escape from the gritty, dark horrors of real life. While I do acknowledge that one form of escapism is to focus on the struggles of a fictional world with fictional characters as opposed to our own very real struggles, it still becomes a little disheartening to see how often we forget the simple escapism of a happy ending.

I make this post in defense of happy endings because I feel like too often they’re seen as cop-outs. I’ve seen series like Game of Thrones, for example, touted as good because the author has the “vision” and “gall” to allow his characters to die.

And yeah, okay, there’s merit in that. But I want to argue that authors who let their characters live happy lives can be just as meaningful, just as intriguing.

Take, for example, the incredible finale episode of “The Adventure Zone.”

I’ve talked at length about “The Adventure Zone,” or TAZ, in an earlier post as well as its creators in yet another post, but the finale was good enough for me to want to come back to these boys and their incredible Dungeons and Dragons podcast once again.

(I’m going to try to keep spoilers light in this post for those who haven’t gotten the chance to listen to this podcast, but considering the nature of this post, I imagine I will still spoil some things. Take this opportunity to go listen to it. Really. Do it. I know I’ve said this before, but just do it, you won’t regret it.)

TAZ is, at its heart, an optimistic story. It’s a goofy, lighthearted adventure with an ending that, after the big bombastic boss battle, is a joyous wedding between two side characters and the peaceful resolution of all three of the main character’s arcs.

But this is not an ending that comes after episodes of happy nothingness. No, on the contrary, TAZ is  the story of an unstoppable force slowly consuming the world. It is a story of how power can corrupt. It is a story of how even those with the best of intentions make mistakes.

TAZ very well could have ended with a negative tone. Or, it could have even gone along with many similar stories and ended on a bittersweet note. But no, Griffin McElroy chose to end his tale in the most unabashedly, steadfastly happy way possible.

And honestly? It was more powerful for it.

 

What made its unabashedly happy ending satisfying? What made the joy feel so absolutely earned, so gorgeously meaningful?

Well, even from the beginning, despite the struggles the characters face, it was pretty clear from early on that TAZ was going to be a story of people banding together in the face of evil. Even as the villain seemed to be an unstoppable, all-consuming force of destruction, instead of taking the easy route and creating drama via lots of failure, Griffin McElroy focuses on how his characters struggle and succeed instead.

That, I think, is an incredible microcosm of what makes happy endings so meaningful in my eyes.

It’s easy to create intrigue by allowing characters to ultimately fail. Sad stories with bittersweet endings can be memorable for the emotions they cause. But I think it’s more difficult but ultimately more rewarding to convincingly allow characters to win. That’s why TAZ worked so well. I often asked myself throughout the course of the podcast just how the characters could possibly triumph over their enemies. Knowing the optimistic tone of the story, I knew they probably would, but just how they would manage it kept me intrigued through all 69 episodes of the podcast.

I feel like stories with sad tones and sad endings don’t allow this kind of intrigue to exist. If you know from the start the characters will fail, there’s no reason to root for them. And sure, this can be an interesting dynamic in some stories, but I don’t think it’s the only or even the better way to build drama.

Plus, there’s a definite need for happy endings in the sad world we live in. Maybe “realism” is good in small doses, but I don’t think there’s any reason why optimism in media is a bad or “unrealistic” thing. And even if it is unrealistic, it’s fiction! Why can’t we have a little fun in our media now and again?

So there’s a good reason to allow your characters to live happily ever after. It builds drama through struggle and serves as a bit of light in an often dark world.

The end.