I’ve thought more and more about the ending of my books. Some are a stepping stone to other stories and some end nicely or so I thought. But here recently, I’ve found myself more and more disappointed with how some stories I have purchased are ending. To be great, a novel needs a great ending and it all makes me a little more critical of my own work.
On Christmas, I received one of the best gifts an author can get when I got $100 Borders card. Now, I could have gone a thousand ways with this but was extremely happy when I decided to get a few books for pleasure reading only. I already had some discounts and freebies coming to me and was glad when I only spent a third of my card. That means I can go back to pick up more when I don’t have the men with me pushing me to hurry.
The other place I’ve been buying a lot of books has been Wal-Mart. And while some of you might not like that scenario because they deeply discount their books, it is a mecca for someone looking at category books. You can pick up almost every historical and Harlequin category romance there the very day it comes out.
So, I’ve been a reading a lot of books this vacation and as of this writing, I have read almost five novels. I have interwoven these readings with my own writing in other genres as well as doing some critiquing. Pretty amazing considering I have two men who are trying to take up 100% of my time. LOL!
So far, I haven’t been impressed with the endings to most of these novels.
Now, I’m not talking about having a happily ever after (HEA) or even a happily for now (HFN) either. Of course in some of the books I’ve read that is a requirement. No, two of these books just ended but implied a HEA and one of the others had an ending I didn’t even understand in the least as it didn't even seem to belong to the book I had in my hands.
In one book, the hero and heroine had separated because the woman had previously been married to a schmuck who told her that she ruined his life over and over. Never mind that he was the one who had asked her to marry him, had a baby with her then refused to touch her after that baby was born. I can understand just how a man can undermine a woman’s self-confidence immensely but not quite to that extent. I guess I have a better survival instinct than this woman. And while she wasn't a too-stupid-to-live heroine, she didn't seem to represent the norm either.
Now, what I thought was dumb was the fact that the hero got mad and ran just because the heroine told him to go. As if that would happen. But the truly amazing part is that he drove from a small town in the east to another small town in Arizona and back in less than two days. The round trip would have taken about forty-eight hours of straight driving to get it done. The way there he had a passenger who could help out but coming home, he was alone. Not a good idea in my book as he had zero rest between drives. Then the man doesn’t even kiss the heroine or anything because all she did was open the door and let him into her house and supposedly her heart. I understand, the ending was symbolic but have the guy kiss the woman at least then it would have been a little more satisfying.
It took me all of two minutes to get my frustrations out when it dawned on me that this book was safe. I’m sure you wonder what I mean by safe. This book didn’t push any of the limits of human endurance, thought process or of a sexual nature. Although there was sex, it was very safe as was the whole book. It probably gave others a warm fuzzy and once I had that in my mind, I could do the ‘ah’ thing and try to make myself not gag.
To me, endings need to be big, that satisfying moment when everything comes together and make sense. If the hero and heroine were destined to be together, we need to glimpse into their forever after even if it is only a sentence that references there will be one. And so far, in all the books I've read, there has only been just one of those moments where I slowly put the book down and grinned from ear to ear, wanting to pick up another book from that particular author.
Again, I’m sure you’re wondering just what the heck I’m doing. One of the things I have put on my goal list for next year is to get published by a NYC publisher. Since the pool is limited, I knew I would have to study these books and study them I have. I’ve picked a few lines of Harlequin which I thought I might submit to as well as some other publishers like Sourcebooks and Dorchester as well as TOR and Bantam in the coming year. Also high on that list is getting an agent as well. I figure if I can accomplish all those things next year, it will be a great year.
But as this year draws to a close, I realize that this year too is ending with a bang. Last year, I was the head of an organization which ate almost all of my time, leaving me little to write. Still, I managed to finish four books, get another group sold and move generally forward in my already decent writing career. I had accomplished as much as I could. My hope is to do even more next year.
Now for the announcement you’ve all been waiting for...the winner of this year’s Christmas giveaway is... Ashley A.! Ashley, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll discuss the particulars! Congratulations!
Here’s wishing you and yours the most fabulous New Year ever! See you then!