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I freely admit it: I like the happy.

Many stories dwell on the conflicts that arise from anger, misery, and hate. Those can be very powerful stories, as they resonate with men and women who have felt those same emotions in their own lives. I enjoy those stories, too, at times.

But I have to be honest. I prefer seeing the light, rather than dwelling in the dark.

Many of my stories deal with the darknesses of the human heart: jealousy, fear, vanity, hubris, and more. My protagonists suffer from them, in the way that I’ve suffered and seen people around me suffer from them. But, while that darkness brings a certain necessary drama to stories, I don’t enjoy dwelling in those dim recesses.

Rodin’s beautiful and frightening _Gates of Hell_ [Public domain]

What I love about writing stories is being able to show readers that the world isn’t always a terrible and frightening place to live. Day to day, we face horrors and terrors…but we also overcome them, with the help and love of friends and family. I’m amazed (and a little saddened) when I see stories that are about only the darkness, only the fear and hatred and angst we encounter – frankly, too much – in our regular daily lives.

I don’t fit in, in this place.

I’ve been denounced for writing characters who are happy, stories that see the good rather than let the evil swell and overcome. But when you see people you love turn gaunt and ghostlike in a hospital bed, or hear a mother screaming for her child, you don’t want to spend your talent poking through those horrors. You want to give meaning to the losses; you want your characters to overcome their trials, and grow and be happy, even if you couldn’t do.

That’s why I like finding the happy when I put on my writer’s or reader’s glasses: I see enough of sorrow when I take them off and look around the regular world.