Creator Recovery YKTTW Discussion

Creator Recovery
When a creator's newfound happiness influences the tone of their subsequent work
(permanent link) added: 2011-11-26 15:25:37 sponsor: Folamh3 (last reply: 2013-10-21 06:47:34)

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We're all familiar with what happens when a writer's personal problems start to intrude upon their work - characters are killed off left and right, plots are resolved either in a depressing fashion or not at all and the worldview espoused by the work as a whole seems much bleaker than it was before.

But what happens when the opposite happens? Whether by dint of marriage, the birth of a child, the author finding religion or some other cause, the author now finds themselves in a much happier place than they were before. And, hardly unexpectedly, this starts to bleed into their work, which becomes Lighter and Softer and much more optimistic.

Just as Creator Breakdown isn't necessarily a bad thing (many artists produce their best work while feeling down in the dumps), this trope isn't necessarily a good thing either: feeling happy and self-satisfied can often lead to an artist becoming complacent and unwilling to push themselves creatively. On the other hand, a sunnier disposition may result in an author cutting down on the Wangst.

This is the Opposite Trope to Creator Breakdown and, just as with that trope, Word of God examples are required for it to qualify.


Anime & Manga
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion is a dark, psychological deconstruction of Mecha anime about loneliness and despair created when Hideaki Anno was suffering from clinical depression. Cue being married and recovering and all of a sudden we get a retelling in a series of movies by the same guy, called Rebuild of Evangelion trying to make the story make more sense and have less of a Downer Ending. Hmm...coincidence?
  • In-universe example: Ryu Shizuka from Bakuman。 writes dystopian fiction, but after his editor takes him to a cabaret where he talks to women for the first time, his main character slowly develops into a Mary Sue who spends most of his time with a harem of hot women. After the editor shows him the women were only nice to him because they got paid, Shizuka becomes disillusioned again and continues writing about how all Humans Are Bastards (even women).

Comic Books
  • Alan Moore has admitted that he was going through a period of depression and disillusionment when he wrote Watchmen, but he eventually got over it. Almost all of his major works after Watchmen (with the exception of From Hell) have been more optimistic and light-hearted than that one.
  • Cathy Lee Guisewite, creator of comic strip Cathy, often joke that her boss at the syndicate dreaded the day she entered a stable relationship and became a more secure, confident person. When just that happen, Guisewite chose to end Cathy rather than let it fall victim to this trope.

  • David Drake is a good example: his fiction after Redliners is less harsh and more optimistic, with a little more faith in humanity. Author's comments.
  • The tone of Anne Rice's fiction became significantly more positive when she converted to Christianity.


  • Barry McGuire is best known for his depressingly cynical song, "Eve of Destruction". His best known post-spiritual-conversion song is "Cosmic Cowboy", an optimistic song with Jesus in the title role.
  • Pet Shop Boys' album Very was more upbeat and exuberant than their prior albums, owing to singer/lyricist Neil Tennant being in love at the time. It is sometimes referred to as their "coming-out" album, as Tennant had begun openly discussing his homosexuality for the first time during this period.

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