I'm a Sucker for a Happy Ending

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I watched part of the MTV's VMA awards last night and was struck by something. There are people with class who are all about being grateful and gracious, and there are people who are self-centered and evil.

Even if you didn't see it, you've probably heard about how Kanye West, in a drunken rage, stole Taylor Swift's much-deserved moment in the spotlight. He literally grabbed the mic out of her hand and proceeded to tell Taylor and The World that Beyonce was the one who deserved the award. And maybe you also heard how Beyonce, a woman strikingly beautiful both inside and out, gave up her moment of glory in order to allow Taylor the moment she was viciously denied.

This whole scenario could be broken down into a great, yet fairly simple, story outline: Good girl wins, Bad guy steals her glory, Second good girl restores 1st girl's limelight.

But this was so much more than a two-dimensional story line. It was real life happening in real time before millions of people. What I find fascinating as a writer are the motivations behind the actions. What motivates people to act certain ways in certain circumstances? How does a teenager deal with an extreme high and extreme low within moments on national TV? It reminded me of the prom scene in "Carrie" where Carrie is crowned Prom Queen only to have blood spilled all over her causing utter humiliation and devastation, thereby destroying her greatest moment. Thankfully, Taylor is all about class and composure and didn't turn into a crazed killer like Sissy Spacek, although no one would have blamed her if she gave Kanye a SWIFT kick in his package right then and there!

Fortunately, Taylor isn't the violent type and she wasn't humiliated. Kanye was. Or, at least, he should have been. Why? Because his motivation was spurred by narcissism and alcohol. How dare he take such a well-deserved moment away from someone else? What gave him the right? What could possibly motivate someone to perform such a hateful, selfish act in a public venue? (Or any venue, for that matter.) And Beyonce - her beauty radiating to the heavens - gladly and purposefully handed Taylor back her moment of glory. Why? Because, as she stated, she knows what it's like to be 17 and receive an award like that in front of peers and fans. She wasn't about to let Taylor's moment slip away. She is an angel in human's clothing.

What motivates your characters? Are they selfish, narcissistic, kind, generous, sneaky, nurturing? Do they have different motivations with different people? They should. People are complex. We have many sides, personality traits, and motivations. Remember this as you write. Make your characters three-dimensional, not two. Give that angst-filled teenager a sweet moment with her mom. Have the always generous neighbor make a shallow comment about someone's rickety fence. But, make sure it's genuine for the character. Aren't we all complicated creatures? Of course, we are! Make sure your characters are, too.

As a writer, the human drama unfolding on TV last night was compelling. As a human, it was beautiful, distressing, and then beautiful once again. Thank you, Beyonce. I'm a sucker for a happy ending.

Also, Happy B-Day to one of my bestest friends in the whole, wide world. You know who you are. Give yourself a hug from me.;-)
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