Hopes and Fears vs Success and Failure

138 words

Hopes and fears, of both the characters and the reader, on balance produce better fiction than success or failure. Possibilities are usually more interesting than a success or failure that they might collapse into.

The problem of seeing the monster is related to this.

The chance of a relationship is more interesting than the relationship that succeeds or fails.

The risk of a failed mission is more exciting than the mission succeeding or failing.

The difficulty with applying this pattern is that the possibilities need to collapse at some point or in some way for the story to be satisfying. Many stories would be improved by more open endings, in my opinion, but this seems to be unpopular and in any case the reader needs to be given some kind of finality to take away from the story.