HEAs or Happily Ever Afters are the DNA of romance. Romance always has a satisfying ending to the story of a relationship. Most readers who pick up a romance or watch a romantic comedy understand that. It’s not so much about winning the girl or the cowboy, but about how the two individuals grow and change and become a better version of themselves…so that they deserve their happy ending.
It comes down to choices.
Throughout the story it is the choices they make to take control of their life and step out from fear into courage. (I love seeing that metamorphosis!)
All writers go about writing their stories differently. What works for one writer won’t necessarily work for another. That is what makes storytelling an art form.
When I begin a new story, I usually don’t start out with the idea “My main character is going to learn ____________” or “This story is about ___________.” My story and what he or she learns evolves as I write and get to know the characters better and deeper. It’s about learning about the choices they have made in the past, the regrets, the “soul” wounds and scars that happened to them and made them who they are. It’s about who they start out as at the beginning of the story and who they must become if they are ever to grasp their full potential and partake of the joy and fullness of life.
It all comes down to choices.
One of my favorite stories is The Gunslinger and the Heiress because the choice Hannah makes takes her away from a future with Caleb.
In The Gunslinger and the Heiress, Caleb has been snubbed by his childhood friend, someone he has always cared about as a little sister. The fact that he has had a rough and tumble upbringing as an orphan and she has grown up in opulence and wealth didn’t matter back then, but when things start to change between them, suddenly she shuts him out. He’s not sure why, but attributes it to the differences in their backgrounds and class. Over the years, this gives him quite a large chip on his shoulder.
This is where the story opens.
The thing about Hannah’s choice is that she doesn’t regret it. And Caleb must come to terms with that—which is not an easy thing for a man. I didn’t actually understand that this would be the message until after the rough draft was written. I don’t look for “messages” in my writing, they seem to evolve with the story as I revise and edit and get to know my characters. To me, that is the struggle and also the interesting part of writing.
What I hope my readers take away from The Gunslinger and the Heiress is that choices, good or bad, make up the sum total of who a person is and create the direction of a life.
I don’t want to give away any spoilers so I will stop here, but I hope you will check out this book for yourself. And I’ll leave you with this blessing ~
A huge choice in my own life was deciding to marry and therefore remain in the Midwest.
It has impacted every aspect of my life ever since.
What is a choice you have made that completely changed the trajectory of your life?
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