Tuesday, May 16

Writing The End



There’s a story by Luis Buñuel called The Exterminating Angel—it was made into a film in the early sixties, I think. The premise is that a group of people are in a room, having dinner and at the end of the evening, they’re unable to leave the room. Just unable to depart the room. They get restless and bored and mean to each other. They eventually get out, but all in all . . . it’s an odd story. Buñuel never discussed the symbolism of the story—Roger Ebert once wrote an article saying that he thought it had something to do with Franco’s Spain and how the bourgeois class is trapped in a miserable life of their own creation. 

Anyway, all this is to say that sometimes, I have that feeling when I’m so close to finishing a story. The feeling that I’ll never finish it. That I’ll just be sitting here staring at my computer and this open file for all of eternity, until I’m prepared to eat my own fingertips just to get away from it.

I am seriously less than ten thousand words from finishing Saving Sarah, Book 4 in the Women of Willow Bay series. My editor is waiting patiently for the manuscript, my crit partners are waiting, my betas are waiting . . . I know exactly how it’s going to end. I’ve got the whole thing here in my head, but I’m just unable to get it into the computer. Yeesh!

I think one of my fears is wrapping it all up into too neat a package—a tidy little bow that solves everyone’s issues and then “Scene!” I think Sarah needs to have some things that we know she’s going to have to handle as her new life in Willow Bay with the delectable Tony Reynard continues. She’s struggled through therapy, she’s dealt with her ex and the trauma of being an abuse victim. She’s still haunted by the death of her teenaged daughter. She’s going to become a step-grammy to Tony’s little granddaughter, a stepmom to his daughter—all new roles for her. And in addition, she’ll be running the women’s shelter, where every day, she’ll face domestic violence and sexual exploitation. I can’t just set all that aside with “And they lived happily ever after.”

But on the other hand, this is romance, and they will love and live happily ever after or what’s the point? I need to figure out how to make this one work so that unlike Buñuel’s tragic characters, I can actually depart this story and move on to the next one . . . I'm not really sure where I was headed with this, except to ask for some story-ending energy. Yeah, that'd be nice . . .

10 comments:

  1. You have to leave some pain and the occasional hiccup--that's the REAL HEA and one readers can identify with. It's also what Sarah deserves...what she's earned. And you'll do a stellar job of it!

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    1. Gosh, I hope you're right--at the moment, you couldn't prove it by me. I know it'll come...it's in there among all the other detritus. Hugs!!

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  2. With your Happily-for-Ever-or-at-least-for-Now ending, you leave Sarah with sn emotional support system she didn't have at the beginning, right? And she has grown over the course of the book, becoming stronger in the face of her own ussues? That's all you need: hope for the future. Not a perfect future. You can do it!!

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    1. Excellent point, Ava--she has grown and that needs to show up in the end. Thanks!

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  3. I agree with everything Ava and Liz said - and I'm reminded of one of my favorite lines from The Princess Bride... Westley tells Buttercup, "Life is pain, Highness, anyone who tells you different is selling something." Let your characters be and experience real things - your readers will love it!

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    1. All wisdom from The Princess Bride is valuable--no question about that, Kristi. Being real is the only way to go here, I think... Merci, baby!

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  4. Can't go wrong with advice from The Princess Bride. lol I'm with the girls.. you got this!

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    1. Thanks for the vote of confidence, Margie!! I probably do have it, I just need to pull it out... hugs!

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  5. Such good advice from everyone, especially The Princess Bride. I think I understand your dilemma. I have this story in my head about a soldier who comes home with PTSD. Except everything I've been reading about PTSD makes it sound like it wouldn't go well with romance; how can this character learn to love when he can't cope with everyday life? But I like what's been said here. Give the wounded person a support system and a means of coping. Life won't be perfect, there could be plenty of hiccups along the way, but it can be rich.

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    1. Oh, write it, Jana--I think you'd do it beautifully and yes, with a good support system like my Sarah has now, life is good. I'm getting inspired here... ;-)

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