Monday, October 19, 2009

End of the Romance: How Do You Like It?

Romance novels with happily ever after endings are pretty much a given. But are we…have we become too cliché?

** Where a proposal is the sure-fire belief they’ll be together once we close the back cover?

** Professing their undying love before embracing, giving us a heart-searing kiss?

** With only a promise of a return and she stands there watching him go off with the feeling of completeness?

** When the story seems to end, but an epilog has been given to add a touch of more.

There are so many ways to end a happily ever after story, aren’t there?

I recently read a blog post on this topic and thought it interesting. So, what do you think?

Have you read any that were different and inspired you to try different ways to express the conclusion?

I, myself, have done the ends with the epilog, the not-so-surprising end, the cliché ends. There are two rules I follow when doing my ends: they must fit the characters first and foremost; they must be consistent with the story. There’s nothing worse than getting there and the end has completely destroyed the story for you.

One of my favorites is the way I wrote end for A Psychic Hitch.

“When you dump, you do it all the way, don’t you?”
“I told you we’re alike, that I go after what I want.”
“If I don’t say yes, a lot of people are going to be disappointed.”
“Cheri, this has to be something you want, not something to please someone else.”
She wound her arms around his neck. “I want to marry you.”
“You’re supposed to say yes,” Andy said.
Both of them looked over at the two people they hadn’t heard come in the room. “Yes.” She looked back up at Allen and whispered, “Yes.”

And, of course, I don’t do everything conventional. Last Glass of Wine is probably as far from cliché as you can get. In this end, which would require too much space to post, I ended the story while they were making love – and then added an epilog to give the actual outcome of their relationship, which requires a tissue or ten.

I don’t want to be preachy by constantly saying this, but I like the different. The cliché, maybe redundancy is a better word, is why I began writing back in high school. I wanted to take the stories I read and change them up – fill in the missing pieces, better heroes & heroines, open the bedroom door, bring in new storylines. It’s still my goal.

There is so much in life to write about, but looking at the books on the shelves, you’d never know it.

Hail to the different! Hail to those climbing out of the rutted path left for us to follow!

Of course, this is my way of thinking. What is yours?



Lindsay Townsend said...

What a superb post, Bekki! And what a battle cry - Hail to the different!!

I agree. I like your end of 'Hitch' and what you've told us about the end of 'Glass'. I think to leave the reader with some small mystery and unanswered question is always good.

That said, I don't mind a ribbons and bows ending, when all are tied up and sorted. I think, as you say, it has to match the rest of the story and be a good match.

I've finished novels on a question, with a little mystery. Or a ribbons and bows. Or an epilogue. Or a looking forward.

great post!

Bekki Lynn said...

Thanks, Lindsay.

There is differently a place and a need for it all --

I like the idea of finishing on a question, a bit of a mystery --- keep them guessing and wondering --
I sort of did that with Contemptible Service, to find out who did it they must pick up the fourth story.

Savanna Kougar said...

Bekki, the way you end Psychic Hitch is absolutely perfect.

Right now, for me, the ending must be consistent with the heroines and heroes and the story, itself.

Since I have a liking for the unusual, I always 'hail' the different.

Bekki Lynn said...

Thanks, Savanna.

Always the end needs to be consistent --

I need to make more time to read -- I love your stories.

Savanna Kougar said...

Bekki, I know what you mean. I need to make more time to read. I especially like reading this time of year and in the winter, all snuggled up in my bed.