This entry is going to be late because Photoshop is giving me grief. Yes, I’m being polite and refraining from uttering anything unladylike while I’m quietly cursing under my breath. It wouldn’t let me draw a line, for pity's sake!
I know. Through the immense frustration I did learn something, however: how to use a digital pencil. And therefore I've made my own happy ending—which happens to be our H. Woot!
Way to segway into our topic, right? (Yay, me.)
For anyone who is not familiar with the acronym, HEA stands for Happily Ever After. A.K.A: The big finale of the story, the riding off into the sunset, the setting sail together on a placid sea, the eternal kiss that cues the end credits...
And in that everlasting end scene the hero and heroine get to keep their peace forever. The HEA is the best because unlike real life, it is assured that all obstacles will be overcome in the end. The couple’s future is eternally preserved, like a picture or a painting.
Or as I’ve always thought of it, like a plateau.
In real life people work hard, going up against challenges at numerous times in their lives, each major event a climb before they reach a period of rest and reward for their efforts.
In books, the HEA is usually the only plateau. Readers accompany the hero and heroine on one journey, experience one period of major conflict, making the conclusion of the characters adventure more monumental.
“The End” truly marks it as your dramatic time with those characters comes to a close.
That said here are a few things I think make a solid HEA.
· With couples, it's good to let the unfolding connection between them be a part of their happy ending. A story where one character brings out the best in the other always strikes me as superlative. It’s moving to watch the heroine grow to trust her man and I absolutely love it when the hero brings out something dormant and sassy in his girl. With character development like that, you know that the happiness will be there well after the screen fades to black.
· Let the ending fit the characters and don’t leave anyone out. I know I write romance, but it's important to not forget about my hero. Look to find a HEA that benefits all involved, and don't make it too "girls only" in the end.
· Strive to make your HEA worth the fight. The ending’s importance is developed throughout the conflict, but if the ultimate reward is weak or not worth suffering for, why should your characters bother?
· Be original. That sunset is at full capacity now. In what ways can you shake up the traditional HEA? What ending can you create that is uniquely special?
Wrapping up I wish I could leave you with a dynamic ending of my own, but let's face it - I just learned how to draw a line. That can stand as my big accomplishment for the evening.
But I do have another letter waiting for you if you come back tomorrow:
I is for Imagery. Hope to see you then!