The end is also goodbye, which makes the happiness of the heroes, who are leaving you behind as they head off into their happily-ever-after fictional life, all the more important. Their happiness is a kind of salve on the separation occurring. Although you are parting ways you can rest assured they are going to be okay. You don’t have to cling to them, wondering if this or that worked out the way they wanted it to. The happier they are equals the satisfaction you experience when parting from them.
The happiness of a hero/heroine is directly proportional to the sorrow they have been through. Like a pendulum swinging from one end of the spectrum of horrid experiences to the other end of sublime fulfillment of all wishes. Can you imagine closing a book and having a heart warming feeling if the hero needed to go to the shop for some milk but couldn't get there because of his broken leg. The heroine, his next door neighbor, saw him struggling on crutches and drove him to the shop. They looked into each other’s eyes and it was love born of gratitude that she made it possible for him to have milk in his cuppa? What the heck! No Way.
The story requires something other than the pedestrian (pardon my pun) circumstances. It requires events and situations and feelings that will wrench the hero/heroine out of their ordinary world and plunge them into the thick dark waters of their worst fears. This is the making of a really gripping will-they-drown-or-swim-to-shore story. It has to take their last ounce of everything, they almost fail but somehow they find resources within themselves they never knew they had. This creates the huge tension that is released on the hero/heroine successfully saving themselves and each other. The hero and heroine shipwrecked-together story situation has been done before, done a lot actually. Why? Because the circumstances cut them off from all support except each other. It brings out every fear of inadequacy they have about themselves. They take it out on each other and at some point have to begin working together for survival. The metaphor of a fish out of water story-line also works this way and creates a brilliant release when love fulfilled replaces severe emotional discomfort .
The amount a hero/heroine have to change, to survive their rapidly changing circumstances and emotions, must be astronomical if you want the reader to have an astronomical happy ever after fix.
Which books contain your favorite endings? Have a think about what elements the author used in creating that amazing, heart warming, keep you coming back for more glow.
My favorite ending to a romance novel would have to be, hands down, Jane Austen’s Persuasion. Captain Wentworth and Anne Elliot went through a hellish ten year separation before they could finally be together and boy they both had to learn some serious lessons before they could work it out. During his awakening, his actions put him in the position of almost having to marry someone else. Oh NO! Seriously, every time I re-read it I feel anxious for them, as if I don't know that it's going to be okay.
I’d love to tell you the tantalizing way Jane Austen constructs the resolution to this story and how the happy ending is written, but I won’t. If you've read it, you already know. If you haven’t read it then you really have a treat waiting for you.
If you’d like to share the titles of books you've loved the ending of, that would be great. No spoilers though. Giving away the ending is sacrilege. If it’s a romance novel we know it’s going to be happy. That’s one of the important reasons I love reading and writing them.