September 16, 2018

The 'Happily Ever After' of Your Dreams

Why do you read?

I love the written word. To say it has impacted my life is a vast understatement. I read many different genres, but the main pull of fictional novels for me—other than the progression of the story itself—is the happy ending. Reading is a source of pure pleasure. It's escapism at its best. You can be anyone, and you can be anywhere. If you read historical novels, then you can be in anytime as well.

Life sucks. Reality bites. Shit happens.

The same rules don't (usually) apply to fiction. Yes, the hero or heroine will have conflict as facing trials and tribulations—like in real life—is necessary for growth and development. But fiction offers (usually) a tidy happily-ever-after (HEA) or, at the very least, a happy-for-now (HFN). Anything less is very unsatisfying. And, dare I suggest, emotionally devastating to the reader.

Perhaps the typical romance novel plot is slightly less than realistic—who wants to read about someone's ordinary life—but there's a reason we see reoccurring tropes—surprise baby, arranged marriage, alpha male, fake engagement, marriage of convenience... It's because we want to read them! Every author will add their individual tweaks, and we, the readers, want to see how their story will proceed.

I think reading books allows you to vicariously live multiple lives and experience drama that would otherwise be unwelcome in real life. What do you think?

At times, I come across a scene so powerful, so moving, that I become simply absorbed and enthralled. This type of writing makes me want to scream, "Yes! I want to write like this!" and also hope that someone, somewhere, is reading my work and thinking the same thing.

I'm reminded of a Barry Manilow song "I Write the Songs" in which he sings:

I write the songs that make the whole world sing
I write the songs of love and special things
I write the songs that make the young girls cry
I write the songs, I write the songs.

Those lyrics summarize perfectly the emotion I wish to invoke in my readers. I want to make you feel love...and hate. I want you to root for my characters...and bet against them. I want you to rejoice in their triumphs and grieve in their sorrows. And, at the end of the journey, I want to give you the HEA of your dreams. Until next time...

Keep reading. Keep dreaming. And never stop believing.

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