Choosing a different ending

audie and meI write Romantic Suspense, and as such it’s required I have a bad guy. And just as in romance where we like to have a happily ever after, it’s usually done that the bad guy gets his comeuppance.  I’m generally stubborn about my writing–correction my plotting.  E.G. I like to take risks. I figure out what needs to happen and then I write the book the way I think it needs to be written.

But there’s always a first time for everything, particularly when I have a female antagonist, and someone I love asks something of me. In a future book my antagonist happens to be a woman.  She’s entirely evil and it was my intention at the end of the book to eliminate her from the plot.  Until my daughter who read my pages said, “But, Mom, what about her kids? You can’t kill the mom.”

I reminded Audra that it was fiction, that I wasn’t “really” getting rid of an actual human being. But she shook her head adamantly. “Her kids would never get over that.”

Somehow I formed the impression we weren’t talking about a book anymore and she was personifying this character.  When I had my surgery recently, my daughter left her job in Seattle and moved  home to take care of me.  At first I protested, I’d be fine with my husband as a primary caregiver.  But after she got home, removed shower doors and set up the bedroom into a makeshift office and got up several times during the night to check on me, I had to admit I was glad she’d chosen this time to come home.   She knew the meaning of “handicapped accessible” and leaving me alone with my husband 😉

But back to changing my plot?  I had to think long and hard. After all, it’s my book, and I’m generally stubborn about my writing. I’m also completely soft-hearted when it comes to my kids. So what did I do?  I’ll bet you can guess.  I spared this fictitious character and came up with a different  solution. I think it’s kind of nice my daughter had such a strong reaction about this character. Not only was she an outstanding kid, she’s turned into an amazing young woman.   And if she had such a strong reaction, future readers might too. So changing a plot is the very least I could do for her. Here’s to returning favors and to my very special daughter. Happy Mother’s Day.