Greetings! Today, I'm going to write about happily ever after. Now, as you should know by now, there's a catch. I mean, there's always a catch. I'm not talking about you're ordinary, every day, Cinderella meets her prince, birds peck out the eyes of her wicked stepsisters, and this all happens in the last few pages of the story. I'm talking about that pesky happily ever after which happens in the middle of the story. Yes, right there on page 150 of a 300 page book!
Picture it - I'm immersed in a great book, reading along, savoring every word I read, and anticipating the next turn of the page. Then - BAM, Emeril style - happily ever after happens to the tortured main character. The love of his life knocks on his door - literally, btw - and declares her love for him. I have left my husband for you, my beloved! Okay, she didn't say those words.
So, great, fine and dandy, the lovelorn couple is finally together and are making plans to take a train to some distant place where they can wallow in the happy of their happily ever after!
I absolutely know that this little love-fest isn't going to end well. I mean, it can't end well because I'm only halfway through the book and everybody knows that happily ever after doesn't happen until the end!
This tale is no different. I'm mad. Mad, I tell you! Mad! Here we have a contrived (and you know how I feel about contrived) plot point.
As the chapter ended, I turned off my Kindle and haven't picked it back up to finish the book. Three weeks have passed. I'm still a bit peeved at the author for this contrived scenario.
The MC was headed to the train station, leaving his beloved in his rambling house, to purchase the tickets to happily ever after.
I know what's going to happen next. MC is going to come home to an empty house. His beloved will have left him a note and told him she's going back to her husband. Yes, this is what's going to happen!
So, why did the author of this book waste my time with this contrived scenario, knowing full well he wasn't going to keep the characters together, and full well that any semi-intelligent reader would figure out this contrivance?
It just doesn't make sense.
I mean, you know when you're reading Winnie the Pooh that he's not just going to get the honey out of the honey jar. He's going to get his head stuck in the honey jar. Why? Because you're only half-way through the story and it doesn't make sense for happily ever after to happen in the middle of the story. Drama has to occur first.
Other examples - my project currently in revision. The MC has a decision to make that will impact his life, and that of the people around him. By the middle of the book, he's made that decision, but hasn't yet found happily ever after. Nope. Nada! No way!
Why? Because what's the point of continuing to read when the character is living a perfect life without any drama? So, in the second half, the character is still struggling with some issues. I show the progression of his struggles, his fears, the past holding him back, and the ultimate resolution at the end of the book. This is when happily ever after should happen.
Okay, now that I've ranted and raved this fine morning . . .
Is a happily ever after event in the middle of the book, with the reader pretty much knowing it's going to turn into a sadly ever after moment, . . .
. . . lazy writing?
. . . cleverly planned?
With either of the above answers, what are the potential effects on the reader?
For me, the effect was not reading any farther in the book. Oh, I'll pick it up again someday and continue reading. I do want to find out how the book ends. I just wish the author hadn't thrown this contrivance in the middle of a really, really good book.