Readers of romance, including lesfic, are intimately familiar with the phrase ‘happily ever after’. It’s a universal concept that weaves its way through just about every romance novel, even the angsty ones that rip a reader’s heart out before shoving it back into her chest.
Every question is answered. A majority of the issues or rather whatever conflict(s) that existed between the couple, such as fear of commitment or overwhelming differences, class or age distinctions are neatly resolved. Maybe the plot was light on angst or grittiness and didn’t go deeply into the psychology of the characters. No matter the storyline, the ending will find the protagonists living together or wedding bells are ringing. The antagonist, if there is one, is gone or has been put in his/her place. Nothing is left to chance and all the loose ends are tied up in neat little bows. Every little thing is laid out for the reader so there’s no speculation or what-ifs, leaving us relieved, satisfied and elated.
I’ve read books like that and I’ve enjoyed them immensely. I’m sure that I’m not the only one. To a lot of people, reading is an escape from crappy internal or external happenings, so to turn that last page and everything is perfect is like the best thing ever.
Yasssssss. Cue the big smile, the warm fuzzies and that lingering tightness in the bottom of your stomach because those hot scenes tend to linger.
Not a damn thing wrong with that. No ma’am. Not at all.
There is always a but…
What about the stories that don’t have all those bows? What about the stories where the character’s issues are more complex, and they are still struggling to cope with them and learning how to love at the end? What if the villain is somewhere in between good, bad and ugly and he or she is still there and only slightly cowed? What if all those side stories don’t come together neatly and end up with jagged edges? What if everybody isn’t happy?
Now, this is the big one. What if our couple have just found their way to each other near the end and there’s no sequel?
What I’m trying to say is instead of a happily ever after there is only a hopeful one? Some readers will probably end up frustrated or even angry. Some may hate the book because the ending left them unsatisfied, and some will be just fine with it. To them, the ending was realistic and it made the characters seem…more human. These readers want to be left thinking and using their imagination.
As a reader and a writer, I can be one of those people too.
There’s not a damn thing wrong with that kind of ending either. We readers can still have that big smile, warm fuzzies and the sex scenes that are imprinted on our brains.
I kept all this in mind as I reached the finish line on Between the Lines the third book in the Cops and Docs Series. I wanted to make Tonya, Haley and company just as real as the person sitting or walking with you. Can you escape with them? Laugh with them? Get irritated or angry with them? Get turned on?
Will you be satisfied? If you like well-developed characters and a very human story, I think you will. I’m hopeful and I want you to be too.
KD is a Southerner and a former nomad, taking up residence in the Mid-West, east coast, and New Orleans over the years. She is also a Hurricane Katrina survivor. Displaced to the mountains of North Carolina, she found her way back to New Orleans, where she lives with her partner of twelve years.
KD enjoys all things geek, from video games to super heroes. She is a veteran in the mental health field working with children and their families for over ten years. She found that she had a talent for writing as a teenager and fostered it over the years.