I’m only about a thousand words short of my word count, but I’ve stopped halfway through writing my final scene. Why? I’m not feeling it, even though I know the setting and idea for the scene is very romantic and I was really excited about getting to it. I have been known to write a final scene with a box of tissues on my desk to mop up the excess liquid draining from my eyes as I type, and I’ve written enough books to know that if the scene isn’t punching me in the gut, it’s not going to grab readers emotionally either.
The final scene is where there should be all the emotional pay-off for all the things you’ve been setting up throughout the book. So, if the emotion isn’t there as strong as I want it to be, it means I haven’t got all my ducks in a row earlier down the line.
I have a gut feeling this all may relate to my hero. Since I’m basing this book on Hans Christian Anderson’s fairy tale of A Little Mermaid I gave my hero a fiancée, as the prince in the story is in love with another girl and marries her at the end of the tale. This was a strange move for me, because I’m not a fan of chucking ‘the other woman’ in to up the conflict, but I made sure that it was clear from the start that my hero was not fully emotionally invested in his long-distance relationship, and made sure that it was deeper, internal issues that were really keeping him from pursuing a romance with the heroine.
However, I’m wondering his engagement is part of the problem. It’s external conflict, and even though I’ve backed it up with stronger internal conflict, I think it might have to go. The internal conflict on its own will have to work twice as hard in the second half of the book in that case.
Unfortunately, I think it’s time to rip my story apart and put it back together again. I dithered about putting the fiancée in the story to start off with, but sometimes the only way you can find out if something is going to work is if you try it. And if you never make bold choices in your writing you end up staying in ‘safe’ territory. And Finn McLeod is a man who despises ‘safe’. I think I need to give him the rollercoaster ride he deserves.