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Monday, April 23, 2012
12:00 AM | Posted by Terri Osburn | | Edit Post
In Romance, there is always a happy ending. The lovers make it through all the trials and tribulations to come out together on the other side. Because this is always the case, one might say, "So all the books are the same."
Oh no, my friend. They are not.
Everyday ends with a sunset, but rarely do two sunsets look the same. And I can't think of anyone who would ever say, "Gosh, another sunset? How boring."
If you know someone who might say this sort of thing, give them a good poke in the ribs for me. Okay. You probably shouldn't poke anyone. I take it back. But maybe look at them really funny. That's fair.
So you're sitting around the 2/3s mark on your WIP and find yourself stumped about where to go next. Look west. Look toward that HEA. Where do you want these characters to be at the end? Do they run off together? Do they settle down right where they are? Does she sacrifice what she thought she wanted? Does he embrace something he never thought he wanted?
And most importantly, who does the groveling? (There must be groveling. Never forget the groveling.)
Once you've answered these questions, the next one is simple. HOW DO I GET THEM THERE?
Sure, it doesn't sound simple when you're staring at what appears to be a no-win situation.
He would never give up A, B, and C, even for love!
She would never put him through D, E, and F just for her.
This can never work out!! [insert much gnashing of teeth] But it can and it will. After all, these characters are meant for each other. Now keep breathing and stay focused.
Keep your eye on that HEA and the answers will come to you. The ending you wind up with might not look exactly as you pictured when you wrote page one, but that's okay. Don't forget, too much commitment to the story in your head can be as much of a road block as anything.
For those pantsers in the group who are thinking, "But I never have any idea how the book is going to end until I get there." You're writing Romance. You know there's a happy ending. Whatever other details you're lacking, you know that much. By the time you're this far into the story, you should know the characters well enough to know what would make each of them happy.
Even if it's one tiny thread. One commonality. Find that and figure out how to make that happen. You don't have to know everything or even a lot, but you always know that HEA is out there. Out west. Now go find it.
How about you? Pantsers and plotters, I want to hear from you both. How far out do you know how your book will end? Have you written an ending that was completely different from what you intended.
For readers (which is everyone, really), is there an ending to a book that stayed with you long after closing that cover? Years later? Is there an ending that took you by surprise? Disappointed you?