Personal Tragedy

The good guys lose and the Main Character goes home happy. That is the basic definition of a Personal Tragedy story. Mix a Story Outcome of Failure with a Story Judgment of Good and you get this bittersweet ending that falls more towards the sweeter side of things.


Writing the Personal Tragedy

The combination of success with unresolved emotional states creates this bittersweet narrative.

Feeling good about losing out is one thing, feeling miserable about winning is something else. Like the personal triumph, the personal tragedy straddles the emotional bridge between an all out rejoicing and an overwhelming depression.


Triumphs of Tragedy: Black Swan and The Wrestler

All tragedies are not created equal. In fact, when it comes to constructing one, great Authors understand the structural definition of a downer ending and how to use it to create an emotional response unlike any other.


Video Montages of Meaningful Endings

A collection of clips showing the different meaningful endings an Author can portray simply by combining how things turned out with how they feel about how things turned out.

My first series of articles covered the concept of the Meaningful Ending. The video montages that went with the articles were the cornerstone of these series and of my weekend workshops and course at the California Institute of the Arts. I'm happy to say that I finally found the time to reupload these videos and embed them within their respective articles.


Decoding the Structure of a Personal Tragedy

Rewriting the meaning of an ending

Intent dictates a narrative schematic consistent with purpose. Seek a story of triumph, and the order of events within will differ from those of a tragedy. Chase down something a little less black and white, and the particulars of that order become much more elusive.