Everyone loves a happy ending. Even the darkest of stories have one if we know where to look for them. The trick in locating them is to skew our heads sideways. Conventional thinking won’t help us. We must first allow the darkness to flow over us so it can smother out orthodoxy and open up our minds.
There are millions of authors on social media who write vanilla HEA’s for traditional HEA fans. They are often found in love stories. HEA is comforting to readers. Fans know that by the close of the book, any crazy world they have in real life is managed and secure in HEA. It makes HEA fans feel good — like pulling up a cosy blanket on a cold Winter’s night.
It got me thinking, I write HEA’s too. My evil narratives end in happy places! Sure they do. They REALLY do!
It’s a fact. My characters flounder like any HEA character. They doubt themselves. They love, hate, inspire to do better, fail and succeed in life. There are winners and losers — just like any HEA character. And every dark story I’ve ever written comes with a profound, life-affirming resolution at its conclusion. Yes, I know, my HEA style is a bit sketchy but stay with me as I explain more.
A criminal’s version of happy-ever-after would be different to ours. It’d be no less important to them, so, as a writer, it’d be a wonderful new writing challenge to create the perfect HEA for the bad guy. Taking their viewpoint would allow a writer to explore their life goals, their hurdles, ups and downs, and all the foibles that come with living their kind of life.
For instance, not going to jail would be one of the criminal’s best HEA’s, right?
This sounds logical but this type of HEA would be a hard sell to those who firmly believe bad people should be punished.
Remember TV’s Dexter?
Now there’s a likeable bad guy who managed to get millions of fans on-side. The show was one part psycho-killer and three parts Equaliser. Dexter was a murderer but his victims just happened to be worse than him. They were paedophiles, abusers, rapists, etc — the worst of the worst. This made that kind of order totally acceptable to the audience. We even liked our deranged, yet well-controlled killer, policing society’s filth with a keen eye and a sharp knife. He was a judge, a jury, and an excellent executioner. Viewers grew to love him. It’s HEA — unconventional but HEA just the same.
See? It can be done. It just needs the right elements in place.
This writer’s greatest challenge is to create new narratives using the HEA as a starting point — but then develop them from evil’s perspective. I invite readers to experience them, so they too can become dark HEA believers by The End — the perfect conclusion for my kind of adult fiction.
Five women’s bodies are discovered after the nights of thunderstorms. Their spouses are suspected of the crimes, but it becomes clear that someone else is responsible. There’s no blood and few clues. A storm photographer who specialises in taking pictures of lightning may be the only witness.
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