January 18, 2007

On Endings

By the end of a well-written romance novel you should be gobbling up the pages like they were cotton candy that would stick to your chin if you didn’t melt it with your tongue fast enough. I just read Eloisa James’s Kiss Me Annabel and I’m still savoring the spun sugar. Once I got to that ending, I didn’t care that the conflict was slightly manufactured, or that certain parts of the plot felt improbable. I didn’t care because she made me believe that Ewan and Annabel shared the transcendent kind of love we are all searching for. And she left me wanting more, left me with a terrible sweet tooth that only she can satisfy. Damn her.

I could just give up writing right now. Or I could work even harder to discover the elusive recipe for eliciting that kind of emotional response from readers.

Can you tell I’m still working on the ending of my book? It’s just that I want it to be perfect. It has to stick to the editor’s mind enough to make her pick up the phone. It has to leave her with a mouth full of melting sugar and a craving for more.

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3 thoughts on “On Endings”

  1. Preparing for the tomatoes to fly, but… You can also stress too much over one single part of a book, so much so that you prevent yourself from moving on to something bigger and better. Witness all those contest and query junkies out there who polish and polish and polish — but only on the first three chapters.

    Don’t hate me for saying this, but sometimes, it’s important to finish, however imperfectly. Then you can learn from the experience, and apply the lessons to the next ms.

    I know wherefrom I speak. It took me one summer to write my first book. It took me 19.5 years to complete a second manuscript. I would start, and then get frustrated by all the imperfections. I had to actually force myself to let go of my perfectionism — it’s hard, but I know you can do it!

    P.S. Does this mean I should or should *not* read the last version you sent me? LOL! 😉

  2. I love KMA. That’s my favorite of EJ’s books. And I know exactly what you mean – about it being so hard after reading a really great romance to go back to struggling with your own WIP. But you can’t get the same feeling from your own work as you can from reading – you see all the imperfections. Let your CP’s (cough, cough) read the new ending and let you know how much it curls their toes.

    I’m also with Kerry – one of my journalism profs once told me that writing is never finished, only abandoned. Says the girl who’s never finished a damn thing. But who will!!! She will!!

  3. Ahh, the voices of reason.It’s funny because when I wrote this post I didn’t realize my perfectionism was rearing its ugly head.

    Thanks for making me see it.

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