A recent work of mine got my thinking about my main characters. Most of my main characters are good, decent men and women. Most are smart in some way. Many are both virtuous and intelligent. Those are traits I admire in real life. Thing is, in real life, those characteristics don’t always get rewarded. Sometimes those traits don’t earn rewards. Sometimes they get in the way of getting what you want.
The question I have to ask myself, as a writer, is whether or not I want my stories to reflect real life. While realism is a good goal, so is telling a satisfying story.
The writer’s first job is to make himself happy. If I think it’s good to be smart and decent, then I ought to reward the characters I create who have those traits. If rewarding them is not only going to make a story come together, but will make me happy as the author of said story, then let them have their positive ending. Sure, maybe they have to work for it, but let them have it.
That’s the kind of storyteller I want to be. I’ll keep doing that, and hope that someday I find my reward with satisfied readers.