Whenever a reader closes the book on a story I’ve written, I hope that she will have a smile upon her face…not because the story is finally over, but because the ending has given her a sense of satisfaction. That’s what good endings should do, I think.
In romance, we talk about “HEA” endings — meaning “happily ever after”, and maybe we think that refers only to the everlasting love our hero and heroine have found.
I don’t think so. True love is only one element of satisfaction in a well-crafted romance novel. What really brings that warm, fuzzy, all-smiles, satisfied feeling is an overall assurance that all is right with the world.
Seeing that all is well for characters we’ve come to care about gives us hope that maybe all can be well for us in our lives, too. Maybe things can be right with our world.
Many changes take place over the course of a story, and as a writer, one of the things I enjoy most is seeing the high and mighty brought down from their pedestals. That’s one of the key concepts in setting things right in any world — fictional, fantastic, futuristic, or real.
We’ve all known powerful people. Throughout our lives, we’re surrounded by authority figures. Parents. Teachers. Employers. Elected officials. We want to trust them, but sometimes we learn that our trust is misplaced.
Unfortunately, in the real world in which we live, corruption and abuse of power occur often. Pick up any newspaper, and you’ll find stories of domestic abuse, sexual harrassment, police corruption, and government scandals. People in power lie, steal, cheat, and all too often, they get away with it.
But not in romantic fiction. Oh, yes, how I love reading — and writing — stories of the mighty, the rich, the powerful, those men and women who think they’re above the law, who believe they can do as they please and not worry about consequences.
In romance novels, there are always consequences, and what a delight it is to see those once-powerful rulers, those demanding tyrants, those corrupt officials stripped of power and brought down from on high. How fun to see the rich but selfish ogre reduced to a poor, penniless beggar. How good it is to watch the greedy politician escorted out the door and off to jail. What joy we feel when the “villain who had it all” finds himself with nothing, his reputation ruined, his empire shattered, his friends uncaring.
Maybe life doesn’t offer such justice, but we can always find it in romance novels. Oh, yes, how the mighty have fallen! It’s enough to put a smile on anyone’s face.
* * * * *