Schadenfreude All Over the Place

Posted on 05/10/2011 by


So the last couple of nights I’ve been watching a whole group of people fall apart emotionally. And laughing. Because I am a horrible, horrible person.

Or because I’m a writer. Which, in this instance, I think is sort of the same thing.

I mean, the falling apart is totally justified. It’s in response to a story that is so much angst/drama. And is really well written. And thus ALL KINDS OF TRAUMA.  I love seeing people respond to a story in this way. Mostly as an author you don’t get that level of immediacy to the response. (I like watching people read my books saying things like, Why are you smiling/yawning/laughing/putting the book down? Hey! Don’t hit me!) So it’s fascinating to me to see this large scale moment by moment response. People are crying in corners and someone offered to skank a puppy if there isn’t a happy ending. And I am having so much fun.

Cover of a Mr Men style book labelled 'Mr Schadenfreude' with a horned purple character laughing at Mr Bump who has fallen over on the ground

This feels wrong. And vaguely dirty.

I am not laughing at other people’s pain. I am not laughing at other people’s pain.

Oh who am I kidding? Schadenfreude all over the place.

Rick: Why aren’t you in pain? You’re reading the same thing.
Me: Mostly cause I’m laughing at other people’s pain.

I mean, it’s not like they didn’t see this coming. That’s like watching Star Wars and being surprised when Annakin turns into Darth Vader. It was always going to happen. But it is surprisingly hard to look away even when you know it’s coming.

There’s a couple of book series’ where I will only read up to a certain point and then walk away and pretend it ended there and all was well. Because I enjoy lying to myself. But I can only do it when I actually already know what happens. I couldn’t not read it the first time.

Yesterday I came across an author’s note about something else I’m reading at the moment that basically said, Angst after Chapter 15. You have been warned. Then in a few sentences she spins a happy bubbles and kittens and rainbows conclusion for the story and says essentially, If you’re not up to it, pretend this is what happened. Walk away. If you continue reading after this point that’s on your head. And I instantly thought, She’s gonna kill EVERYBODY.*

I managed to not continue reading for about eight hours.

I’m an information junkie, I always prefer to know. Ignorance might be bliss but I’m the cat that curiosity is still trying to kill.


* Everybody’s not dead yet but I’m only two thirds of the way through the book.


Posted in: Kandace, Research