You know the point 2/3rds into the book where the hero should be at their lowest? Where everything seems to be lost and no hope remains?
I don’t like it.
I don’t want it.
I just read an amazing book I loved to bits. And yet, when I reached that point I rolled my eyes and went “oh, really?”. I love the book but I still didn’t like that.
You know what I want instead? Winning. The hero wins and that makes everything worse. That is my preferred modus operandi.
I can’t come up with books that do that from the top of my head. A perfect moment of YAY followed by oh shit. If you know Dragon Age Inquisition, closing the Breach and the party afterwards in Haven are such a set up. We won! Only, we didn’t. And now things are worse.
And it doesn’t have to be that the god you freed turns out to be the devil because history is a liar told by liars. Maybe you retrieved the Relic of Righteousness and now 83% of the country is after you to get it. You deal with the baddy and now their mum is mad at you and gathering an army. You put the moon back into a stable orbit, but the changes in gravity and magnetics play havoc with nature now.
I like my protagonists winning. I also like for them to have bigger problems because of it.
PS: Not sure if this, too, is informed by my autism. Because if I get what I want, it often makes things worse because people don’t understand it. And what I is not in the canon of culturally appropriate things to want.