How many times have you read a book where the ending didn’t fit? Sometimes, it’s that the main character is left hanging on a ledge (metaphorically, or perhaps literally). Other times, it’s that the couple just went on their first date, and then they’re suddenly married in the epilogue. However, life doesn’t always hand us a tidy ending in our story, and most of the time, one ending is just the beginning to the next scene.
As readers, we want some type of closure. Is that character going to make it off that ledge? Will the happy couple make it to the altar? As writers, we don’t have to give them a perfect ending, but there needs to be some closure.
When I finished writing Worth the Wait, I added an epilogue, wrapping everything up into a nicely wrapped present, tied with a sparkly bow. Even though it felt a little too “perfect” and not quite realistic, I thought that’s what the publishers/agents would like. Thankfully, when my editor read through the book, she wanted a more realistic ending, so we chopped off the epilogue. Although it was hard to see those words crossed off, it was for the best, because I want to write stories for teenagers that show real life and the hope that Jesus gives us no matter how tough the “ending” may be.
I don’t want to pass on the belief that once you accept Jesus, everything is perfect, because it’s not. It’s still hard. It’s still painful. But we’re no longer alone.
While I will probably write many stories that end with a kiss and promise to love forever (because I love a good romance), I want my books to be realistic, to focus on the only relationship that will last forever—the one that a girl gets when she finds out who she is in Jesus.
That’s the only relationship that ends happily ever after.
Do you prefer a happy ending or a realistic one?
Laura Jackson loves books—reading and writing them. A life-long reader, Laura studied English in college and taught 7th grade language arts before earning her Master’s degree and becoming a school librarian. Now, she spends her days sharing great books with kids and her evenings writing books about teenage girls discovering God and His plan for their lives.