So Heartbreaking it’s good in writing

I’ll admit, I’m some one of a sadist. I like to watch my readers squirm. But I’ll only break my readers heart if I break mine in the process. The question is, am I alone in this? Am I the only one who enjoys making something so amazingly heartbreaking that it… “feels”/ is good? I just came up with a scene that is so sweet and adorable, but just breaks my heart to pieces. I actually cried. How many of y’all enjoy scenes like this?

Edit: Let me never repeat me watchingThe battle of the Five Armies in Theatre. I cried the whole last hour because I knew Thorin would die, then he got stabbed and told Bilbo to plant his tree, The I cried cuz he was dead. I’m talking weeping. But god, did I enjoy it. The man I was in love with was fake and dead. It was a distressing moment I’ll admit.

  • It depends on who or what it’s about.
  • Yes, I adore it even though it hurts.
  • Nah man, keep that sad shit away from me.
  • I’m stone cold and care not for your heartbreak.

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It makes me fool good inside when people who have read my stories get emotional over character deaths. :stuck_out_tongue:

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What? Me laugh evily? You must be mistaken. Psh. Pfffbt. Nah.



You’re not alone!

As a matter of fact, the feeling you’re referring to is a literary term called catharsis, from the Greek katharsis, which means “purification” or “cleansing.”

Essentially, what happens is that the writer/reader experiences emotions so extreme by proxy, that they themselves feel an emotional release or climax, a purging, at the conclusion of the work.


I’m stone cold, since I already knew what will happen in my stories. You could say that I’m already immune to breaking my own heart and don’t care if the readers suffer a heart attack due to one of their beloved characters dying.


Plans plan plans… I already knew what will happen. But I do turn on some sad music if I’m writing a sad scene. Does it break my heart? No, not really. It just makes me remember the pain we all experienced before.

But I delightfully enjoy seeing my readers scream in agony after witnessing the death of their RO. :innocent:


If a game kills off my RO, I will basically stop playing. It’s not something I find enjoyable, and I don’t play these games to feel sad all the time (although that does seem to be the far more likely outcome… :expressionless: ) That’s not to say that there’s no place for tragedy (my own WiP does have a couple of ROs who can die), but let it be a choice-based thing, not a pre-determined thing. (These are ChoiceScript games, after all…)


Pain is good. The right kind of pain.


I am an absolute masochist when it comes to reading.

To me, bittersweet is the best kind of story. You feel with the characters, for the characters, you’re experiencing the pain and sadness along the path and it registers somewhere. It means you’re invested, that you care for them. It highlights the good times, showcases the struggles, and makes something poignant of their journey.

Moments that stick with me aren’t the traditional ‘and they all lived happily ever afters.’ They’re the Titanics, The Notebooks, the Green Miles. They’re the scenes with uncle Iroh singing to his son, the moments when Travis faces Old Yeller. They don’t have to be downright bleak and despair, or the ending; they can be just as happy as they are sad, or offer the glimmer of something more (a la Gone with the Wind), and be landmarks along the way instead of the final destination. It doesn’t have to be death, either. It can be loss, it can be moving on, it can be a breakup, or settling for something. But overall, they’re amazing when you accept it, you appreciate it because it’s so good, but all the while feeling like your heart is breaking into a million pieces and you have the urge to throw your book/phone simultaneously.

Now, this doesn’t mean that elements of tragedy make something good. (Similarly, happy endings also don’t mean it either.) They can be implemented terribly just like any other story elements. It has to fit, it has to serve a purpose, and it can’t be there just to be there.

On that note, I find including these types of scenes/endings into choice games very interesting. If you have ‘good’ endings where everything is happy and awesome in the end, but in some endings someone died or so and so was lost, it implies that one is better than the other. It means there’s a right and a wrong way to do something, and right and wrong endings. Some might require more strategy, might be harder to achieve, but in the end I consider this a mechanical feature (you didn’t pass x stat, or you chose the wrong options here, etc.) rather than a narrative one. I think good tragic or bittersweet moments have to be narrative and require planning + the right genre/type of story, and these can fit into all the different paths by being different things.

And going with tricky, it’s also very difficult making it so the player doesn’t feel punished. There should be something that comes out of these moments, too, and something that still feels satisfyingly good even if it’s still heartbreaking in other ways.

But now I am going off on some weird tangent. In conclusion, yessss! I love heart wrenching things and haven’t really seen them incorporated here other than in mechanical options so far. I’d love to see more.


pretty much this .

I don’t mind if it’s a choice kinda of thing . But the whole ‘You fall in love just to find out it always has been doomed from the beginning and nobody told you’ ARGH! No ! No more of that .

I have a history of falling for character that either turn me down cose (hetero) or die on meh and break my soul into millions pieces (like shandra and Aribeth…forever using kleenex lol) .

But the beauty of tragedy , is that it doesn’t always have to be ‘somoene you love die!!’ . It can be so many things . I cryed over a tree in Avatar , I cryed over the peoples locked away on the Titanic , I cry over peoples killed on the news everyday .

So yeah , there is beauty in sorrow , as long as you know how to add it .


that’s SO evil…:disappointed_relieved: you better make sure you supply box of kleenex then with your story !

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Speaking as somebody who seems to only ever fall for the doomed (or traitor, or fake, or straight) ROs, yeah, it can very much feel like I’m being punished. :sweat: And while this can be positive (I’m sure I wouldn’t love Tommy from ZESH nearly as much if I hadn’t had to fight for his life on the forums), usually it just gets me depressed. :disappointed:


A Hobbit movie broke your heart? Then I suggest you get a pacemaker before watching Grave of the Fireflies! There’s plenty of true despair out there, when terrible things happen to good people. In my experience it hits closer when the setting and the characters are less fantastical. When the struggles are less epic they become more tangible.

In risk of going on a “kids these days” rant, every choicescript author has to be aware that we do have a younger audience. To make them feel “upset” at times is crucial for any impactful story, but tolerance for being unhappy has never been lower. Blame the pharmaceuticals!

What makes matters worse is that few people will admit to being upset. Some readers who have difficulty accepting this emotion will give feedback in forms of other criticisms, like the story being needlessly grim or a death scene being poorly done and so forth. It makes discerning genuine criticism from reactionary emotions very difficult.

The best thing an author can do is (as always) whatever they feel is best.


lol trust me…I wish I had one when I watched Grave of the fireflies .

I’m not to proud to admit I cry easily. Like…ridiculously so. Like, I’ve had to pull over to cry when the wrong song came on the radio.

That said, I really do love a good cry, and I treasure the books, or more rarely the games that can get one out of me.

Someone above mentioned catharsis, and they’re exactly right. I feel clean after a good cry. So please break my fragile little heart. I’ll be grateful to you forever.


I like it when I don’t get too attached to the characters,like Le Grand Meaulnes,Tender is the Night,L’Écume des jours etc.When I do,I can still appreciate it as long as it’s good for the story(and may I say most of them are not bad at best).Like the ending of Sangailes vasarathere’s farewell and breakup.While it breaks my heart,it added a new layer and opened a new window for the story,unexpected but meaningful
But would I trade a better story for Auste getting the girl she love.Damn,I would

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I like heartbreaking moments sometimes, but I have to be careful of my mood before I get into a story like that.

For me as a mid 30s adult, I get enough unhappiness IRL. I don’t really need fictional misery poured on top.

I don’t experience catharsis though. So I guess mileage may vary. I still prefer happy endings (some sadness along the way is fine, I do like “earn your happy endings”).