Friday, April 26, 2013

The End of Happy Endings

I just saw this interview of Lauren Oliver, author of Delirium, in which she says she doesn't believe in happy endings. This belief is woven through her writing and is a product of the pain she has lived through. She's had a tough life. Not the worse I've ever heard, but she's come through some difficult experiences and has drawn from them in her writing. Yet to me the saddest part is that she has allowed these experiences to control her attitude toward life and the future. She writes about the truth as she sees it, but she has no hope, or more likely she hides it under a ruse so that she does not recognize it, and as a result her writing has to have a more ambiguous ending. If the reader desperately wants hope they can see it, but it doesn't really mean it is there or that the hope lasts longer than the next day the character lives.

In the artist community there is a general disdain for HEA (Happily Ever After) endings, positive music, beautiful canvases and good always wins and rides off into the sunset. It's true these are used in many forms of art and much of the reaction against them is that they were very popular in the past, are currently very popular with the average, less-sophisticated, easily entertained masses and today's critics are too sophisticated and cynical to believe them anymore. The edgy, counter-cultural artist avoids them like the plague if they want to be taken seriously as an artist. There is no worse insult than to say an artist's work "will appeal to the masses." It's the same as saying a painting should be hung on a refrigerator, i.e. even a four-year-old could have thought this up and the only reason 'the people' like it is because they don't know any better. Critics and the artists they love resist this. They know all too well that bad things happen.

And to a degree they are right. Life does not work out that way. To live with the expectation that you will fall in love, get married and be happy for the rest of your life will lead to disillusionment and intense disappointment. There is a need for realistic art. Sometimes the good guys lose. Justice fails. Love turns to hate. We don't always get what we want. Big dreams die. These are the facts from everyday life and we need to appreciate the truth found in this reality we live in.

However, there is also truth in the fact that everyone still clings to hope. This is a truth 'the masses' understand all too well. Sometimes life is horrible, but other times it is beautiful. We exist through the atrocities because deep down we still believe that the wonderful is possible. The alternative is that life is not worth living and every person living is still clinging to hope that it is. This is why we take the next breath, why we get up in the morning and why we allow ourselves to exist through pain no matter how intense.

Everyone living believes in some form of a happy ending, because what a happy ending represents is hope. If a person truly has no hope then they have lost all reason to live and they will die. Hope is what grounds us to earth no matter what life circumstances we may be going through. We have to believe that something better is possible. We have to believe that one day things will be better, if not for us then for those who come after us.

Oliver may say she doesn't believe in happy endings. But either she doesn't understand herself and her deepest motivations, or she doesn't understand what a happy ending is. Even though her mouth speaks the words her heart denies them. She may think she doesn't believe in happy endings, yet she still does. The article ends with a quote that she has hope for the future because of the ideals and values of the next generation. She may not believe she will find a happy ending but she still believes it is possible for others. One day this next generation will see what she does not: A better world.

In this I think she is right, but not because of the next generations' political view or preference for physical books. The next generation has the ability to see the horrors of this world and still face them with hope. Pain is worth enduring. Hope is worth keeping. Life is always worth living.

Monday, April 22, 2013


Def. The state of being normal

I am happy to say life is back to normal! My computer is working just fine. Almost all of my preferences are back to the way I like them...and the best thing of all is I can write again. Only one shadow on my otherwise bright shiny day is that I lost about 3 pages of Remembered Chapter 5. I think I remember what I wrote, but I've started rewriting it and already it's different. Not that different is bad. I just really liked what I said the first time.

That being said, all this time on my own with an actual piece of paper and pen between my fingers has given me time to think. I expect some of those thoughts will leak through to here and I'm really looking forward to where life will go next.

Especially since there are two movies I can't wait to see!!! Star Trek Into Darkness and Iron Man 3! Theatres here I come.

Friday, April 19, 2013

The Amazon Ride is over. Or is it...?

The results of the 3rd round of Amazon's Breakthrough Novel Award were released Tuesday. I got online and soon discovered that some people already had their reviews posted. I quickly checked for mine, but it was not up. I also checked for the results every few minutes until they were released. I held my breath as the page loaded and then searched for my name....

It wasn't there. This is it for me. I made it to the top 100 of this year's entries and for my first year, I think it was pretty good! I did get to see my review, even though it took a whole other day to be posted. I wasn't really sure I wanted to see it, but all the fear I had about being torn to shreds was unfounded. The majority of the review was a synopsis of my book with two lines commenting on the reviewer's reaction.

Publisher's Weekly calls The White Lilac an "exciting SF adventure....This fast-paced novel's emphasis on the ethics of genetic experimentation makes it stand out. And...will keep readers reading."

Now if only I could write another just like that! :) Who knows what next year's competition will hold.

Friday, April 12, 2013

The Rain that Pours

It would be difficult to tell, but I am not writing this from my usual computer. Yesterday I go to turn on my computer and the main screen doesn't some up. I tried all sorts of different things. I let the Startup Restore scan my computer several times but to no avail. It would not start. It did give me a code that I then researched and discovered it most likely means my hard drive is fried.

In case you're unfamiliar with what a hard drive is or does, basically everything that made my computer mine is now lost and will have to be replaced. My files, my music, my pictures, my book covers, everything. In the event that I can't replace it, then it is lost forever. Forever.

I was in the midst of writing Chapter 5 of Remembered (And Carillians for the Machine Book 2) and the last three pages of that are now gone, only existing in the shadows of my mind. Who knows if all will be 'remembered' when the time comes to write it again. Perhaps it will be better. Perhaps not...hmm, we'll go with the first one.

Another way this will make life interesting is directly connected to Amazon's Breakthrough Novel Award. If you are counting the days you know that there are only four more days left before the results are revealed. Four days left! The best way to check the results is of course online, which I will be limited in until I can figure out what to do with getting a new hard drive. So here I am hoping I will make it through and I may not even find out if I did.

So when it rains it pours. Life is nothing if not an adventure! What adventures have you had lately?

Friday, April 5, 2013

The Stadium on Smashwords

For those interested in short stories The Stadium is now free on Smashwords.

Here's some background.

The Stadium is an adult, slightly futuristic/slightly dystopian short story. I actually wrote it after being on a Ray Bradbury phase and thought I'd like to try to ape his style. Big emphasis on the word 'try.' Not that I succeeded. :) Bradbury was a great storyteller and on a level all his own. He has probably forgotten more about storytelling, grammar and plotting than I have ever imagined. However it was a story that had filled my heart to the point of bursting and I had to get it out whether it would seem like his or not.

After writing The Stadium I figured it wasn't that bad so I kept it around and tried to sell it to magazines. Yet no one was interested. I even had a local writers' anthology turn me down. Let me say it again, a local writers' anthology (to put it in perspective for me this was basically one step above paying a poetry anthology to include a poem I wrote about my cat) and it's not like I live in New York City or Los Angeles. Granted I've been tweaking it for over seven years so it might have been one of the earlier, not as polished versions which would have been completely justified on rejection for grammar or logical constructs alone.

Even so I'm not convinced that polishing would have helped in this case because the guy putting it together said the plot was too much like Stephen King's The Running Man which I'd never heard of, either the book or the movie until that day. So if my story was similar to his it was completely accidental. I have since seen the movie and checked out the book, both of which are very interesting commentaries on society and the direction of our culture. Although in my mind the similarities between mine and King's are minimal and about as many as there might be between The Stadium and For the Love of the Game or The Hunger Games.

But that is just my opinion whatever it might be worth. :)

Anyway, after seeing this piece in my folder on my shelf for years I decided to give it a chance on my own and see if there is anyone else out there who might find it interesting. Aside: (wink, wink) This could be your cue.

Let me know what you think of it, either through a review or comment or by e-mailing me at adamschristinawriter @

In a flashy world where the spotlight gets the attention there are still some people who notice the lives behind the scenes, even if others don’t. When Dan realizes he is about to witness a murder being broadcast on national television he has to make a choice. Yet the choice to act is harder than he thinks.

Find it on Smashwords and check it out.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Half Way to April 16th

It's about two weeks until April 16th and when the results of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award's third round are revealed. When quarterfinalists become semifinalists and begin the mad race to first prize.

There doesn't seem to be a day that goes by without me feeling something. Especially the polar ends of my feelings about this contest. Today is a day when all my fears have gathered around me and insisted upon playing a staring match. The kind where you can't blink and your eyes dry out and twitch. The kind I was never very good at. Staring without looking away was better for me, but I never could figure out the mechanics of how to keep my eyelids from falling.

Where the ABNA is concerned it is easier for me to prepare myself for not making it through than it is for me to hope my name will be among the few. Not that I am giving up. I'm ready for a good staring contest, because giving in to my fears has never benefitted me. I still have days when hope rises and fills my heart with dreams. It's just hard to hope freely when I don't know if it will be crushed later. I don't want to set myself up for greater disappointment. Even though it would seem wonderful to let dreams run loose and indulge my fantasies, controlling them now keeps me from despair later.

Do you have any dream that you are afraid won't happen? What did you do if it did? Or didn't?