Saturday, 1 February 2014

Day Ten of #TemptedToWrite

Day Ten:  How Do They Kiss And Make-Up?
It's been an emotional two weeks, with analysis of all aspects of the perfect Modern Tempted novel but, like all good things, it must come to an end.

And the ending is what I wish to talk about today.  To romance cynics, the ending of a Mills & Boon (or in fact any romance) novel is the same.  They get together and live Happily Ever After.  And I'd be lying if I said that that wasn't a part of it, but there's far more to the ending than that.

It's got to be believable.  Remember, you've just had some serious heartbreak, so this has to be believable as a resolution.  All the conflict that's come before needs to be resolved, and it needs to finish in a way that means that neither character loses their autonomy - it's the first rule of chick lit feminism.

Example Number One:  Gina and Carter in Heidi Rice's Maid of Dishonour

 "I love you Gina Carrington."  She bucked but he held firm and kept going.  "I love your fire and your passion, your honesty, your integrity, your smart mouth and your bad attitudde and that sexy dimple on your butt."
She gasped and found her voice at last.  "I do not have a dimple on my-"

"I love the way your eyes go all squinty with temper when you're mad," he interrupted, basking in that exact look.  "And I love the way they go all dazed and dewy when you come."

"Oh, for Pete's sake!"

"I love the fact that you think you're such a tough cookie.  And most of all I love that soft, giving, open heart that you try so hard to keep hidden - but you showed to me one incredible summer night a decade ago, and I've had several tempting glimpses of this summer in Savannah.  I'm not a great bet for the long haul, I know that.  But then neither are you, so I figure we're even there.  And if you'd be willing to take a chance on me, I'm more than ready to take a chance on you."
What makes this ending stand out?  Carter's acknowledgement that he isn't perfect, and that he doesn't know that this is going to be all sunshine and daisies makes it realistic.  Plus there's that gorgeous description of her and the fact that he's noticed all the tiny little things about her - some of which she didn't even realise herself.  Heidi Rice captures our hearts and Gina's and gives them a wonderful Happy Ever After.

Example Number Two:  Rowan and Seb in Joss Wood's The Last Guy She Should Call

"We'll be fine.  Yes,you'll turn my life upside down, but as long as you leave the War Room and my hackers alone you can do whatever you want.  And if you go too crazy I'll pull you back in.  In the same way, if I get too stuck in my head, you'll bully me out of it.  We're good for each other precisely because we are so different."
"I've been independent for so long and I'm worried that I'll get restless, feel hemmed in."  Rowan also felt it was important to warn him.  Maybe staying in one place would be enough for her, being with him would be enough, but there might come a day she needed to fly, just to know that she could...
What makes this ending stand out?  The fact that these two characters are so very different, highlights the fact that they're HEA won't be easy.  In the end, Seb comes up with a way for Rowan to be able to fly and travel and do everything she loves - he refuses to change her and she refuses to change him.  This is a relationship built on acceptance and understanding, and that's the best kind there is.

Endings always display a writer's skill, and Kathleen A Luton's caught my eye:
Freddie set off to Heathrow in lashing rain.  He drove through two junctions trying to concentrate on Sam coming out through the barrier and throwing her arms around him. The trouble was he could hardly remember what it had been like to hold her and caress her - she had become like a shadow in the far off past. 
The only person he could think of was Rose, huddled in her white bathrobe, flashing her furious dark brown eyes at him when he told her he had to go. He drove off the motorway at the next junction and, gripping the wheel tightly as strong gusts of wind and rain buffeted the car, he headed back to the hotel where he'd left her. 
He might just be in time. 
She was coming out through the revolving door as he screeched to a halt. Her bed hair was piled in an untidy knot on the top of her head and her skin tight jeans showed off her endless legs. "Rose," he shouted, "Rose."

She turned her head and hesitated.  Then very slowly she walked towards him.
What makes this moment stand out?  I've always been a sucker for an airport reunion - I blame Love Actually - so this seems perfect to me.  And I think what really comes through in Luton's writing, is the fact that Freddie is finally ready to let go - he's no longer holding onto the past and he's more than ready for Rose.  And fab use of a flashback!!

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