Endings: Fiction vs. Real Life

Here we are at the end of the year, with me, cleaning up the draft of my next novel, MURDEROUS MEANS, #6 in the Southern California Mysteries. I know who did it (or do I?). A few questions I always ask about endings:

– Has the main character evolved? Between you and me, I ask myself the same question at the end of the year. Have I improved in character? Have I learned new things in my quest toward progressing as a human? What could I do better? Guess who gets these same questions: Corrie Locke, my heroine. 

– Does Corrie solve the problem/mystery/murder? If you’ve read my books, you’ll note that happy endings are a must for me. My characters go through trials and hurdles, but if they hang in there, things are bound to change. In real life, we know that change can play little and big roles. It’s our reactions to these changes that make all the difference. For instance, in my real life, I recently made a concentrated effort to change my usual reaction to a situation. To react in a more positive manner, holding on to calmness and understanding. It made a huge impact on my well-being. In MURDEROUS MEANS, a change takes place in Corrie’s life that impacts her mode of investigating, and her well-being. Did she cause the change or was it an accident?

– Do all characters play an important role? In fiction, characters need to move the story forward. In real life, people should do the same, whether it’s in the grocery store line or a friend. They can’t just show up now and then, disappear, and return at a whim. They need to bring something to the table or the page, in a positive manner in real life, but in fiction, sometimes we need those not so pleasant people to move the story forward, even if it means in a negative way.

As we begin a new year, may we take whatever action needed in real and in our fiction writing life, and work “not with tense… striving, but with ease and joy.”* I have to remind myself, as does Corrie, not to love the goal more than the doing in order to keep myself happy. How about you?


*Sraddha Mata

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