How Happy Is Your Ending? No Pretty Bow Required.

I would like to welcome today’s guest for Tuesday Teaser, Julia Rachel Barrett. Take it away, Julia.

I’m one of those readers who doesn’t need my romance zipped into a neat little package.  You don’t have to tie up every loose end, you don’t have to tell me…and they lived happily ever after.  Let me figure that out for myself.  I started writing in my head long before I ever put pen to paper.  As a comic book and Nancy Drew addict, I noticed that while each installment might stand alone, I could always look forward to the next book.  Nancy’s life story didn’t wrap up on one book, nor did Superman ever manage to put Lex Luther away for good.  Between reading books, or comic books, I had the luxury of fantasizing about what might happen next.  I love the concept of might happen.  It gives me the freedom to use my imagination and come up with a myriad of alternate endings.  Serious fun!

I get into trouble, a lot, because I don’t necessarily end my stories with the white dress, the walk down the aisle, and a peek at the perfect family a year later with babe in arms.  I can write it, I just don’t do it every time.  I think I’ve done it exactly once, with My Everything – because after all the tragedy they’d experienced, I felt my protagonists, Grace and Ben, had earned a tried and true HEA.

My latest release, Pushing Her Boundaries, ends with our couple together.  Maggie and Mace have become partners and lovers in every sense of the word, but I made a decision to end the story with their rescue rather than get into the details of the reunion with their families, describe what they ate for their first meal after getting back to civilization…I left that for you, the reader to decide.  I trust your imagination to visualize their reception, their first meal, that first night in a bed that wasn’t made of pine needles.

I guess, like my semi-disorganized household – which is filled with kids and pets and activity – I don’t’ need neat and tidy.  I’d spend an awful lot of time fighting a losing battle.  How about you?  How tidy do you want your HEA?

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About Falyn Donaldson

Author and Naughty-minded girl
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12 Responses to How Happy Is Your Ending? No Pretty Bow Required.

  1. Thanks for hosting me, Falyn – fun!

  2. For me it depends on the story I’m writing. I’ve done HFN endings then added an epilogue with a peek in the future. My menage needed one, and the reviews specifically mention that it made the story. My second short story I ended with an HFN which doesn’t seem to be sitting well with the readers. I left the story open ended no epilogue no love you forever and ever Amen with the idea that the protags would carry on from there.
    With my third book which is due to be released, I tied everything up, but the bow wasn’t pretty. I even had an epilogue set a couple months in the future, the bow still wasn’t pretty but it was better. Now I’m writing a sequel to the story set a few years in the future. It was supposed to be the story of a minor character getting his HEA, it’s turned into a continuation of the first story, and how the time from the first book is still raw, how it links the minor character to the protags of the first story, how his life was changed by the events in that book.

    And then with a fifth book I ended with the dress and the wedding night. No epilogue. I always meant to write an epilogue for that book. Even now while I’m getting it ready for pub, I think ‘ya know it needs the going to Disney World moment’. But I sit down to write it and nothing. It’s over, they have their HEA the readers know this is forever. We don’t need to know if they got pregnant or won the Super Bowl or anything else. It’s done.

    But that doesn’t mean I won’t second or third or fourth guess myself right up until the final edit draft. Or even after it’s released.

  3. Mercy – you take a risk, or we take a risk, if we don’t tie everything up neatly. I come from a background of literary fiction where the perfect ending isn’t necessary – but romance readers love that perfect ending, so it’s a tough call.

  4. Great post. I’m like you- I like the ending to be well done but leave some of it for my imagination.

  5. I love to either finish stories in my head or re-write them – so if an author leaves some of the story to my imagination, I’m in heaven!

  6. As a reader, I think what I love most in an ending is really when the “this moment in time” aspect is finished. This part of the story is over but there is so much more left to tell. Just not now. Sort of the real life thing I guess.
    We know they met, they fell in love, and somehow that chapter has come to an end and it was satisfying.
    That’s what I love. I know from there they will go on and have careers, fight about money or experience tragedy and great joy. But that’s for later. This time is what matters. The end.

    I hate the books where I turn the page expecting more and there isn’t more. That this story wasn’t quite finished yet let down.

    Such a delicate balance. Writers are tight rope walkers. for real and for true.

    Great topic Julia, I could talk on it forever. I won’t but I can.

  7. Kienna Riley says:

    Hi Julia! Sometimes it’s refreshing to read a HFN story, other times I find that HEA is needed. A little bit of both every now and then mirrors life more realistically based upon the characters and where they at in life. Very nice article, thank you for posting 🙂

  8. Thanks, Mercy and thank you, Kienna. The topic could make for a very extended article.

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