Don’t you love the ending of a good romance? That wonderful finish, when you close the book with a long, wispy sigh of satisfaction. That for me, makes a book worth reading. The Aaaahhhh factor.
I love that last scene. I love the way the uphill battle suddenly evens out, and everything the hero and heroine fought so hard for or against suddenly amounts to everything. I love the sense that the characters know they have fallen in love forever, they have found their happy ever after.
Writing a romance is just the same. While working on the manuscript, I may not know what the hero and heroine will go through to be together, or what challenges they have to endure to prove their love for each other, but I do know they’ll get there in the end. They’ll make it. I know exactly how the last scene in the book will play out. After all I’m a romance writer. I do it for the happy ever after.
So why, why am I struggling so much with my current manuscript? I know the end. Heck, I knew it before I started the book. I have played the final chapter in my head so many times, I could direct it as a Broadway production.
I just can’t put it into words.
Do you have any idea how many times I have started and deleted this scene? How many times I’ve sat down to write it, and worked on something else altogether? Do you know how many books I’ve read in two weeks, trying to find inspiration to pen the last paragraphs of the manuscript? I think perhaps I should have written a paper on the art of procrastination instead, for I have certainly mastered it.
Have you ever read a book that you love so much, you find yourself reading a little slower than usual? You find yourself putting off reaching that final page, because afterwards, the book is finished—and then what will you do? You don’t want the book to end.
I once received a review for a book (Photo Opportunity, by Marina at Cupid’s Library), and one of the things she said was: “The absolute cherry on top is the ending that I must have re-read five times not wanting to let the characters go.”
Well, maybe that’s what I’m going through. Maybe I just don’t want to finish this manuscript because then I’ll have to say goodbye to the characters. It’s tough letting go. I’ve known the hero of this book for two years now. I know what he’s gone through to get his woman. Yes, I want them to have their happiness. They sure do deserve it—but how can I not be there to help them anymore? To guide them? How can I let them go off and make it by themselves? I’ll miss them too much.
I guess I have what is the writer’s equivalent to empty nest syndrome. My characters are preparing to leave home and make it on their own. I know I have no choice. I have to let them leave. Perhaps, when I’ve readied myself emotionally for the separation, I’ll finally be able to get that last scene down in words.
Until then, I’m off to read another love story (or four). I’m putting off the inevitable—saying goodbye. My characters will get their happy ever after, I promise. Just as soon as I’m ready to let them go.