View Single Post
Old 04-14-2012, 02:04 AM
MrFarFromRight MrFarFromRight is offline
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Ping-ponging around Europe, trying to get a publishing concern off the ground
Posts: 718

Originally Posted by nycindie View Post
I write screenplays, too, and MeeraReed is absolutely right in saying there is no story without a conflict. Those stories that are all about a person choosing between one or another person would fall flat at the climax if the protagonist chose both. The audience would say, "After all that struggle, she/he doesn't even pick one? How lame! I watched that journey for nothing!" They would feel cheated because they would be rooting for one of them, and feel like it's unfair if there isn't a clear winner. They also need a character to identify with, whether it's the winner or the loser. So, love stories with "happy poly endings" would have to center the conflict around some issue other than the typical two people trying to win someone's heart [...]
Got to disagree with you here. Not about the necessity of conflict, but about your assertion that "those stories that are all about a person choosing between one or another person would fall flat at the climax if the protagonist chose both". As long as the conflict is kept going up until the end, there's no need for "a clear winner"... or rather - from a poly point of view - no need for anybody to lose. The posts on this thread - in fact, the very existence of this thread - are/is evidence that many of us feel that the "typical Hollywood happy ending" (ie "[one] boy gets [one] girl") is often a cop-out, the coward [scriptwriter]'s way out. (It's like that other old chestnut, the hero dying bravely because the writer hasn't got the imagination to resolve the drama any other way.) We ask for more courage, more imagination, more willingness to explore alternatives to the hackneyed traditional resolutions.

As an analogy, I'd point out that one of the best books ever written loses none of its charm or magic because it contains, near its end, the sentence:
So Alice got up and ran off, thinking while she ran, as well she might, what a wonderful dream it had been.
Nobody is terribly disappointed or says"How lame! I watched that journey for nothing! It was only a dream after all... Alice didn't have to solve all her problems and find her own way back to reality: she just had to wake up. I want my money back!" (Or, in fact, the even more typical and traditional resolution: "Hey! Why didn't the hero show up to rescue her?! Where's the love interest? We was gypped!")

[Added in editing] Imagine the non-poly but open-to-new-ideas film-goer who watches a film saturated in romantic conflict: WHICH ONE will she/he choose??? (Place your bets...) And then she/he chooses both - or all 3/4/5... Don't you think that the viewer could see this - far from being an anti-climax - as being mind-blowing, fresh, and [as far as they know] an original twist?

Last edited by MrFarFromRight; 04-14-2012 at 07:02 AM.
Reply With Quote