Tor.com content by

Karina Cooper

Satisfying Plot Resolutions: Happy Ever After Isn’t the Only Option

There’s a standard theory that seems to crop up whenever one starts talking about what makes a good story. It doesn’t just affect books, either, trickling its way through film and TV shows. This theory suggests that every story should end with a Happily Ever After (or HEA, for short). In a romance, your main characters find love, commit, and when the book ends, you know they’ll be happy and in love forever—in fact, there should be very little doubt.

If we’re talking classic action movie, it’s all but demanded that the hero survive the chaos, achieve his goals in the end, bring down the bad guy, and then (let’s face it) meet the hot chick he rescued for drinks at a Baja bar. If we’re talking science fiction action, it’s usually about overcoming whatever alien threat is plaguing the main characters and exterminating it. Hooray! We win, minimal casualties, and somebody gets the girl.

Chick flick? Obvious answer: it’s always about the HEA.

[Read more]

LGBTQ Characters: If They’re In My Life They Should Be in the Fiction I Read

I started reading romance—full-bore (eh heh), graphic romance—when I was eleven or so. At that time, I’d come off a science-fiction and fantasy YA kick and moved to historical adventures of all stripes, and from historical adventures to historical romance. My upbringing was such that there were precious few secrets of life at that age, so the graphic contents didn’t “bother” me all that much. I knew what sex was, how it was (generally) done, and had somehow come to the subconscious conclusion that all that was perfectly fine, in my limited experience with life.

During one of my strays back to science-fiction/fantasy, I picked up Anne McCaffrey’s initial Dragonriders of Pern trilogy—Dragonflight, Dragonquest,  and The White Dragon. This is notable for two reasons: 1) “Oh! Oh! I want to be a dragonrider!”, said my imagination, and 2) it marked my first real run-in with same-sex pairings in the written word—in, most pointedly, a way that fundamentally drew my attention.

[Read more]