Quote Originally Posted by Ruv Draba View Post
Some readers feel cheated if they're not made happy, but as a reader I feel cheated if I'm lied to, or if the author plays favourites with his characters. Fairness to me requires an unflinching honesty about a fair world; and in a fair world a lot of villains are just heroes in the wrong place; and a lot of heroes are just villains who got lucky, and that's what I write about.
I believe the trope is 'Earn your happy ending.' The characters have to struggle for happiness because you're usually not happy unless you've had to contort yourself through hoops of all sizes and shapes to reach your goal. I don't like it when series get derailed because an author grows too attached to a character and decides to keep them around even though the book would have been awesome if they had died. I think I love the movie "Stranger than Fiction" because it plays with this very idea and flops it on its head.

But back to fairness. Your characters can have different concepts of what constitutes fair. These ideas are likely cultural, and in judging a single character, you can slide in judgments on the entire culture of your world as well. The villian may be pitiable, but this is only because the culture that created them is terrible. Or the hero may be a raging idiot, but may never have been taught to really act otherwise to be successful. Really, the key is to keep in touch with current events and try to understand our own world. Then, you're just like, 'Wait! My story is totally about immigration reform or trade rights or nuclear warfare, but I just didn't realize it!'