nancyfulda (nancyfulda) wrote,

Reader Expectations

You know how the online writing community periodically discusses audience expectations, and the way mainstream audiences don't feel fulfilled unless there's a happy end? And how there's been speculation on why that is, and why western storytelling conventions follow different patterns than many other parts of the world?

Well look at this. During the childhood of most of today's adult reading public, society was so concerned that comic books would incite children to lives of crime that it created the Comics Code Authority as a way of regulating comic book content and appeasing concerned parents. It is very similar to the regulation code created for movies in the 1930's.

A few hilights from the code:

  • Crimes shall never be presented in such a way as to create sympathy for the criminal, to promote distrust of the forces of law and justice, or to inspire others with a desire to imitate criminals.

  • In every instance good shall triumph over evil and the criminal punished for his misdeeds.

  • Inclusion of stories dealing with evil shall be used or shall be published only where the intent is to illustrate a moral issue and in no case shall evil be presented alluringly, nor so as to injure the sensibilities of the reader.

Well, no wonder the American public expects neat, happy resolutions and good triumphing over evil. We've regulated it into the system. I swear, the things I learn while researching nonfiction articles...
Tags: writing
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