Happily Never After
I’ve been writing a book about a girl I’ve been getting to know for a few years now. As a writer approaching a love story, you don’t want just another Disney scenario on your hands that’s boring-but you also don’t want to leave your character’s in a situation you would never want to be in-becuase after getting to build a characters story you begin to care for them and their stories.Nobody wants to write a happily never after.
I don’t want to be a spoiler-but I feel that there is a lesson I have recently learned that maybe others will benefit from…and that’s what this blog is about right? So I think My book is going to end with a happily never after. At first, I thought it would be devastating…and it is…but as an author, making that decision suddenly gave way to write a new book. A sequel-full of new characters to stand alongside the old ones. But before you understand that you have to meet the characters-
The girl-seems to always be in a dark and twisty place-optimistic…but dark and twisty. (Yes, if you have ever watched Grey’s Anatomy,you understand that description). She meets the other main character in probably what I would say was her darkest place-nearly no light left. But as all good love stories go-he saves her.. Not in some heroic way-but by simply being the right person at the right time. Nothing more – nothing less.
He’s got his own dark and twisty-but to her…he is the new light. A new beginning…something or rather someone to look forward to and as all good protagonists do- she makes a promise-not out of obligation- but out of having the honor of having someone that could be her light- that she would do everything in her power to make him smile, at least once, everytime they crossed paths. Cheesy, I know…but I can’t avoid every cliche while writing this thing. Plus, I think people like cheesy. (Don’t judge me-I have to appeal to the people.) But, although cheesy-its important to note as it foreshadows a decision that has to made in the future-so keep it in mind.
But as all good stories go- there was a plot twist-they didn’t get to cross paths for a few years and it wasn’t all bad, she got to travel, see the world, kiss new, kind faces. AND- as all good stories go…it comes full circle…they crossed paths again and it was like no time passed. They still were like a perfectly oiled machine and they could still make each other smile…but that wasn’t enough to hide the fact that time did indeed pass.
And this-my friends is where I got stuck. As a writer what do I do? When two characters have grown, have changed, and are no longer in the same place as they were at the beginning of the story but their feelings are in the same place. Do you- force the characters to move backwards- to defy their growth in character to keep the fairy tale alive…give them the illusion of a happy ending? Follow the path filled with pink fluffy clouds and hope? Or do you have them accept love doesn’t always present the same way for everyone and doesn’t always follow Disney’s rules. That sometimes love is letting go. Sometimes love simply means you acknowledge its there-it doesn’t need to be acted on…nothing has to happen…that it can simply exist.
What do I choose?
Remember how I told you that my character had promised that she wanted to make the love interest smile every time they crossed paths? Well, as the author-I have an obligation to honor that promise, so I wrote both scenarios out all the way to the end. And that’s when I knew what the ending had to be.
The happy ending-wouldn’t have made them smile let alone him. The simple fact was-was that that’s not where they were. They simply were not the right people at the right time. No more no less. The pressure to have a happy ending would have lead to an unhappy one. It would not provide relief, but grief.
Letting the love simply exist however…provided great relief. They didn’t have to deny it but they didn’t have to act on it. For they were simply not the right people at the right time. No more-no less.
That was the lesson I wanted to share. As the author of this story-it is clear that I am in fact a hopeless romantic…and I grew up believing that there could only be happy endings for it to be a great story…but writing this tale made me realize the beauty of happily never afters. The beauty of letting love simply exist.
And I can’t wait to start writing the sequel.
Hope everyone has a great day and hopefully the spoiler alerts helped someone like it helped me.