Saturday, April 9, 2016

H is for Ending Well

I'm doing the A-to-Z Blog Challenge.

Today is for H, and H is for Hollywood endings.

What is a Hollywood ending?

Some might say it's a Woody Allen movie. They wouldn't be wrong. But that's not what I mean when I talk about a Hollywood ending.

A Hollywood ending isn't exactly the same as a happy ending, where the hero gets the girl and they ride off into the sunset and live happily ever after. (Although those types of endings are common in Hollywood productions.)

A Hollywood ending is an ending that's possible but not necessarily probable. It's a satisfying conclusion but straddles the border between what's realistic and yeah, that's not quite how that works.

The Long Road to Heaven is a perfect example. I don't want to reveal any flaws that may or may not be in my own story, but I will be honest about why the ending is written the way it is.

The first time I read the ending to my husband, he offered me a dubious look and said, "Well, it usually takes longer than that."

He was talking about coming to terms with past heartaches and offering forgiveness to those who caused them.

He reminded me how it takes years -- YYYYYEEEEAAAARRRRSSS -- to work through the issues. Some people never do.

That's all well and good. But I'm limited to around 90,000 words.

A completely realistic ending for tLR2H would've resulted in volume upon volume about temptation and relapse and near-misses with relapse and overwhelming my readers with intricate details about distorted thought processes and how they affect a recovering addict's dynamics with family and friends.


While it's a storyteller's job to help a reader see life through the eyes of his/her character, it's also a storyteller's job to entertain.

So sometimes you're forced to write the Hollywood ending.

As long as you're staying true to the characters, there's nothing wrong with that.

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Kathryn Harris is an award-winning journalist and author of the contemporary novel THE LONG ROAD TO HEAVENAll royalties she receives from April 2016's online sales of The Long Road to Heaven will be donated in memory of the late Caylee Hoehne to theUnited Way for use with the Court Appointed Special Advocates program for abused and neglected children. Please consider helping this worthwhile cause. 

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