Saturday, July 25, 2015

Never an Unhappy Ending

Our topic this week is things we said we'd never do in a book, that we then did.

Let's see, I've said I'd never kill a major character...but then I did in Wreck of the Nebula Dream, because the situation really demanded it. No spoilers but the person wasn't the hero or the heroine, but people have told me they cry over that scene.

I've also said many times I'd never write a series with an overarching plot arc, mostly because I didn't think my writer's brain ran that way...but now I actually am in the editing process on such a series - EEP.  Again, the plot kinda went off in  direction that lent itself to four books...I still haven't sat down and outlined an entire series arc and written to that plan. Being a total seat of the pants person, doubt I ever will do that but it seems my Muse can think in series mode if she really wants to.

The one thing I will NEVER do is write an unhappy ending (UHE - let's have an acronym). I guarantee you if it's a Veronica Scott book, there WILL be a happy ending. I don't know if it's because I was traumatized by the movie "Old Yeller" as a child, or that my mother dragged me to "Gone With The Wind" and "Dr. Zhivago"  (both of which I regard as having UHE)....I won't see a movie or TV show, or read a book that comes to a UHE. Not if I know it in advance. OK, maybe every once in a GREAT while, I'll deal with one. I recently watched the movie "Maggie," which is a highly unusual take on the zombie tropes and obviously I knew going in there wasn't going to be much happiness when the credits rolled, but I was fascinated by the concept. I'm fascinated by all things to do with "Titanic" and again, there's a lot of genuine heartbreak connected to the story no matter which version you're consuming. I'll admit the ending of James Cameron's version helps a lot, with the reunion in the Afterlife!

Sometimes I'll watch certain movies if I need a good cry - you know how that is, right? And then Cameron's movie is my go-to.

Wreck of the Nebula Dream  is my "Titanic in space" novel, loosely inspired by the actual ship's sinking...not related to the Cameron movie in any way.

The other, main reason I won't deal with UHE is personal - I married my high school sweetheart when we were both 19, we had a very happy life (some say "fairy tale" but no, we were real people and not every moment was sprinkled with Disney...but in general things were good  - we were an excellent team.) Life was tracking nicely on plan for quite a long time - college degrees, house, new car, two children, good jobs with potential...And then he and his best friend set off on a bicycle ride and ten minutes later he'd been hit by a truck and died a day later without ever regaining consciousness. My children were three and five. The hardest thing I have ever done, or ever will do, was sitting down with them and explaining their father was gone.*

So I feel more than entitled to ensure that at least my characters never have to deal with anything less than a true Happily Ever After ending. After all, I have total control over those!

*(And all of that happened a long time ago - the children are grown and launched on their own lives, and I'm happy pursuing my dreams. The heart does go on, as the song says...)


  1. "So I feel more than entitled to ensure that at least my characters never have to deal with anything less than a true Happily Ever After ending.

    Yep, yep you've totally earned the right to ensure HEAs all around.