If I didn’t believe in HEA, I couldn’t be a romance writer. It’s as simple as that. I’ve heard people say that fiction writers “tell lies for a living.” Wrong! If an author is telling lies, i.e., writing things she doesn’t believe herself, her readers will know – and stop reading. A writer has to tell the whole, honest truth, no matter how hard or how painful.
And sometimes getting those words on the page can be painful. It’s hard work and labor intensive, but we do it because we’re compelled to, because we love it.
A relationship is a lot like writing a book. In the beginning, you’re filled with energy and enthusiasm. You can’t wait to stop whatever else you’re doing and run to that keyboard. The words flow from your fingertips. The chemistry between the characters sizzles, their dialogue sparkles. It’s all wonderfully satisfying. Exhilarating. Like the adrenaline rush of new love.
Ah, but what about that saggy middle, or hitting a snag you can’t write your way out of because the plot just isn’t working? You might find that your characters stop talking, and worse, they suddenly don’t even want to have sex anymore. Yikes! What does this mean?
It means the honeymoon is over. It means you have to stop, analyze what’s gone so terribly wrong and rework, re plot, rebuild. Some days, you just want to throw up your hands and quit. “It’s too hard!” you lament. “Can’t I just start over?”
But then you wonder, how committed am I to this story? How much do I love these characters? How much a part of me are they? Depending on the answers, you’ll either toss the manuscript into the circular file, or roll up your sleeves, sit your butt back in the chair, and give everything you’re worth – your heart and soul – to make it work. Because you are committed. You do love this story and you cannot let go of these characters.
That’s how we as writers progress from opening hook to HEA. And in life, that’s how people progress from that first “I love you” to their own particular HEA, whatever that may be. It’s not easy, it’s not always pretty, and some days you want to throw up your hands and scream, I quit! That’s when you have to take a breath and ask yourself the above questions (insert “relationship” in place of “story” and “spouse/significant other” in place of “character”). So yes, I believe in HEA. Oh, not the magical, “bells are ringing and birds are singing” version – well, sometimes – but mostly the “we’re in this together and are committed to making it work because damn it all, we really do love each other” version.
What do you think? Is love worth working for – fighting for? Or do you believe that when the happy bells stop ringing, it’s a sign that it’s time to move on?