Is a tragedy acceptable today?

I stayed up until midnight playing video games with my son. I knew I'd pay for it today, but did it anyway.

Frankie, the alarm dog, got me up at 4:30. I should be overjoyed that she gave me twenty minutes longer than my alarm clock usually does. It's a flex day, so maybe I'll grab a nap this after noon.

I hacked out another micro-fiction while the dogs managed to go back to sleep. Then I grabbed a fresh coffee and sat beside the footboard of my bed.

A slurping noise moved from the darkness to just the other side of the footboard. A black tentacle slid a Nylabone out on the floor beside me.

“Black is a new look for you, isn't it?”

“Oh, you know me. Always trying something new. I think it makes me scarier in the dark.”

“You could be onto something. Things you can't quite see are more frightening. What's with the dog toy?”

“Oh, Frankie and Otto were tugging at it yesterday and it flew under the bed. I thought she might need it back.”

“Not for much longer. I think her puppy teeth are almost all gone now.”

“Good thing too. Those babies are sharp. I had to steal a Bandaid while you guys were sleeping.”

“No problem, that's why they're there.”

“So what brings you to talk to the old under-the-bed monster today?”

“Tragedy.”

“You're going to have to be more specific.”

“Okay, tragedy is a time honored kind of story. When done well, it produces a powerful emotional experience for the reader–“

“Right a PEE, I read your blog. Too funny.”

“As I was going to say, it seems to be out of favor today.”

“Times change and all that.”

“Maybe they do, but maybe they shouldn't. Not everyone gets a happily-ever-after in real life. Fiction should reflect real life.”

“Riiiight. You write stories about spacemen, witches, and dwarves.”

“Okay, but I try to get real human emotions into them.”

“You still haven't told me what specifically brings you here today.”

“I nearly wrote a Greek tragedy a few years ago with The Cock of the South. I chickened out, and didn't completely go that route. Well, I've gone and done it again.”

“And you're worried it will make people mad. You're looking at it from the wrong side of the mirror. For every one of those happy endings, a monster dies somewhere. Do you know how many of my friends are hanging around the Union Hall just waiting for another story?”

“How many?”

“All of em, and they aren't going to get another story because the author killed them off.”

“Don't you guys always manage to stick a hand out of the grave right at the end, or open your eyes suddenly?”

“Only in horror. Not every monster story is technically a horror story.”

“That's all great, and I appreciate that monsters would understand, but they don't buy many books these days.”

“So it's a commercial thing?”

“Not exactly, it's a story for my blog.”

“Now you're just being stupid. Those things have the lifespan of a gnat. Eight hours later the readership forgets all about them.”

“Maybe they do, and maybe they don't. They don't swarm back and re-read the posts, but the story might stick with them.”

“Yeah, that's a good point. Is this for your macaroni thing?”

“It's called Macabre Macaroni, and yeah.”

“Maybe you can bracket it with something happy on either side. End with one that isn't a tragedy. They always remember the last one.”

“So bury it in the middle somewhere?”

“That's my opinion.”

“Thanks Under-The-Bed Monster, I owe you one.”

“You owe me several, but who's counting.”

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35 Comments

Filed under Writing

35 responses to “Is a tragedy acceptable today?

  1. You’re on fire lately, Craig. Another clever post. Kudos.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Monster crawls out from under the bed, so you start discussing potential stories with it? Yeah, sure… Why not? It beats the typical screaming in fear and getting eaten approach, that’s for sure! Haha!

    Nothing wrong with the odd tragic ending. They can’t all live happily ever after…

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Well, no-one gets out alive, so, bring it on, I say. πŸ˜€

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Didn’t realize tragedy has fallen out of favor. Seems so many stories are built off emotional twists and shock deaths. I’ve been criticized for being too ‘happy’ and ‘positive’ in my stories, so I think there’s still an audience out there. Always hard to tell since the loudest voices aren’t always the most numerous. I say write the ending that makes you happy. 😁

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I’m just impressed that the voices in your head are so articulate. Mine aren’t always so.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Good to know that the monster still gives input. It hasn’t shown up for a while and I have a soft spot for those creatures.
    As always, highly creative. Looking forward to October and Macabre Macaroni.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I am a huge fan of tragedy, eschewing happy endings. It is just not the way of life. Happy endings seem contrived and false. That being said, this was a super fun post! You’ve got skills, presenting discussion in an unexpected way.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I was reading this thinking you were musing about a typical morning until the tentacle. 😏
    Nicely done.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Great, Craig!! Love this.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. The personification of the monster under the bed is fab πŸ™‚ Mine would be the monster in the closet!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. The under-the-bed monster really has a handle on this! πŸ˜€ Tragedy can be cool though – I like my fiction to be really real… πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

  12. So that’s what lives under the bed – not nearly as scary as i thought.

    Liked by 1 person

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