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I feel like I'm missing something. I avoid reading this type of book, at the same time some of the books I've written were so sad that I didn't publish them. Maybe that's stupid, but I really feel like I'm missing something. Are reading books like that cathartic? Or is it the 'thank God that isn't me,' phenomenon? A Paxil substitute? Life's hard. I just don't see the draw to read something that makes me cry, so I didn't publish the stuff I wrote that fits into the tearjerker slot.

Someone help me out, especially if u love to read that kinda thing. I wish I understood the appeal. I have a picture in my head of making my readers cry and feel guilty about it. I'm mental, I know.
 

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I love sad books. Not sure why. I guess it's an emotional expulsion--a connection with someone else's life. If someone says it's a two-hanky movie--I'm there. The books and movies I'm most likely to read a second or third time are the sad ones.

Except for Up. I can't watch the first 15 minutes of Up.
And Toy Story 3. I can't watch the last 10 minutes of TS3.

Oh, what am I saying. Fire up the BluRay.
 

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Psychologists have said it is because sad books and movies, and a good cry, actually make us feel better (endorphins are released after the cry) and we feel better about ourselves. One way we feel connected to humanity is by feeling empathy for another.  Even a fictional human character.
 

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Partially, I think it's that it is how life is and I can identify with it. People go to war or get sick or die. They lose the person they love for one reason or another. I really do identify with this stuff and novels that are only happy, happy leave me cold.
 

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I don't like happy, happy either. It feels fake and I can't get into the story.  I also have a hard time with paranormal.  I want humans and their struggles and successes.
 

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TexasGirl said:
I love sad books. Not sure why. I guess it's an emotional expulsion--a connection with someone else's life. If someone says it's a two-hanky movie--I'm there. The books and movies I'm most likely to read a second or third time are the sad ones.

Except for Up. I can't watch the first 15 minutes of Up.
And Toy Story 3. I can't watch the last 10 minutes of TS3.

Oh, what am I saying. Fire up the BluRay.
TS3 YES! So True!… and how about TS2, with Jessie the Yodeling Cowgirl's story. Just wow!
 

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TexasGirl said:
Except for Up. I can't watch the first 15 minutes of Up.
And Toy Story 3. I can't watch the last 10 minutes of TS3.

Oh, what am I saying. Fire up the BluRay.
I am so there with you!!

Emotional movies/books are cathartic. They help us know we're alive. Don't hold back - making readers cry is one of the most satisfying things (to me) as a writer.
 

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I love a book or movie that causes a good cry. You have humor and you have angst. Each causes an abundance of emotion in the reader. I can't always make the reader laugh at my jokes but I can hope I can make them shed some happy tears at the end.
 

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Some people just want to watch the world burn. I kid, of course!

Some readers are only sympathetic for characters who suffer (a lot), and some readers are results-oriented (they base their reaction on how things turn out). When both of those come together, you get a person who wants a book to be depressing, because they can't feel sympathy for a character who undergoes trials and tribulations, but everything works out in the end. The ending, where everything goes to some place that rhymes with jail in a handbasket, is what draws out their sympathy.
 

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My favorite books and movies are the ones that make me cry. They make me realize what really matters in life.

Possibly the greatest compliment I can get as a writer is for someone to tell me my book made them cry. It's then I know I've succeeded in making the reader truly feel something.
 

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I used to enjoy sad books quite a bit. The older I get, the less drawn to them I am. Sometimes I get sucked into reading one or -- grumble -- set myself up for it by putting one on a syllabus. Some of them leave me feeling down for days. Good lord. I went into Atonement not realizing
it was about the impossibility of atonement. Ugh.

The feeling-bad-for-days thing might be good for me. On the other hand, I'd like to think some of those dues have been paid IRL, now that I've reached my current advanced age.
 

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Because the author did a great job creating characters that I care about and get emotionally involved with. I'm not drawn to sad books but love books that have emotional ups and downs, very satisfying.
 

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I was  blown away when a reader said a particular scene between a father and his daughter in my first zombie story made her cry. At first I was worried I had done something wrong but she was adamant it was quite the opposite.
 

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JRTomlin said:
Partially, I think it's that it is how life is and I can identify with it. People go to war or get sick or die. They lose the person they love for one reason or another. I really do identify with this stuff and novels that are only happy, happy leave me cold.
This, pretty much. (Well, minus the war part. I have no personal experience with that aside from what my gov't does.) I like to read realistic things (yes, even fantasy can be realistic in the characters, their actions, and their feelings.) I am a realist down to my bones and want to read stories about people facing hardship and BOTH succumbing to it and rising above it. Stories that are so clean and happy make me roll my eyes. I always hear about people reading for escapism and not wanting to read about "real life" stuff. I am the total opposite. I want to read about the awful things I've been through, that my family has seen. I want to commiserate with an MC in an abusive relationship, whether if it ends with her hitting rock bottom forever or her getting the hell out of dodge and starting anew. As long as it's done realistically, I'm in. I want to see characters get dragged through the mud and spit on. Because I can relate to that. I don't read to escape, I read to validate my own life experiences and to give me something to consider in regards to my own life. (I save the forms of escapism for video games.)

And yes, there is also the cathartic and "wow, glad that ain't me!" aspects. Perspective can be addicting too.
 

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You can write a book with epic battle scenes, or rampaging zombies and stack up thousand of bodies with very little emotional reaction or you can write a simple story that ends with a son rejecting a mother that loves him desperately and break everyone's heart.  It's a matter of how emotionally invested the reader has become in the outcome.   People want to feel that emotional investment in the superficial world we live in, in my humble opinion.
 

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Negativity bias.

People enjoy all the emotions, including laughter, but they have more respect for art that brings out the negative, painful feelings.
 

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holly w. said:
I feel like I'm missing something. I avoid reading this type of book, at the same time some of the books I've written were so sad that I didn't publish them. Maybe that's stupid, but I really feel like I'm missing something. Are reading books like that cathartic? Or is it the 'thank God that isn't me,' phenomenon? A Paxil substitute? Life's hard. I just don't see the draw to read something that makes me cry, so I didn't publish the stuff I wrote that fits into the tearjerker slot.

Someone help me out, especially if u love to read that kinda thing. I wish I understood the appeal. I have a picture in my head of making my readers cry and feel guilty about it. I'm mental, I know.
Load up your iPod (or similar) with a good selection of blues and play them while you are thinking about your problem.
 

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People enjoy all the emotions, including laughter, but they have more respect for art that brings out the negative, painful feelings.
But crying isn't negative. Neither is death. We all die. Yes, there can be really sad deaths, both in life and in books, but the fact that it breaks our heart does not have to be seen as negative. It makes us feel and that is so human, so wonderfully connected to life. Plus, most dramas ARE an escape from reality. While we all have some bad things in life, generallyl a very dramatic story has a whole lot more, which makes us feel we don't have it so bad.

Plus, a tearjerker doesn't have to end in complete sadness. THere can be redeeming, positive things that come from the end. Maybe the ending is uplifting but other parts were tearjerkers, or vice versa.
 
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