I have come to a crossroads with a set of characters and I canâ€™t believe the angst Iâ€™m feeling or maybe itâ€™s heart break?
Let me explain.
This past summer, I had the privilege of being in my first box set. YEAH! My contribution to the Fling box set was The Good Girl novella. I wrote this book knowing there would be more to the story. However, I didnâ€™t expect to become as attached to the characters as I am. That fondness is supposed to be reserved for my characters in The Alex Chronicles. After all, weâ€™ve been together for yearsâ€¦thatâ€™s not an exaggeration. [Read my previous posts for details on that series. And for the record, The Alex Chronicles is still my baby.]
Gabriella and Phillippe, my heroine and protagonist from The Good Girl, are infants compared to Alexandra [Alex] and Moses, the stars of The Alex Chronicles series. Alex and Moses and I have been through a lot. Thatâ€™s not an exaggeration. I wrote three books, well four if you count the prequel that can testify to the longevity of our relationship.
When it came time to cause havoc between Alex and Moses, I had no problem doing itâ€¦yes, I cried inside when heâ€¦okay, I canâ€™t tell you anymore because it might spoil it for you. But it was a difficult breakup. However, the possibility of Gabriella and Phillippe breaking up, is causing me great consternation and I donâ€™t know why.
The difference in this proposed breakup might have something to do with the fact that I donâ€™t know what will happen next. I guess thatâ€™s what happens when youâ€™re a pantser. Maybe if I was a plotter, Iâ€™d feel different. In that respect, Iâ€™m like my readers, excited about the surprise outcome, sitting on the edge of my seat wondering what will happen next. Wondering if an HEA will exist for these two. If or when you read part two, an HEA seems inevitable. I think a breakup would be a shock to some readers and a given to others. Either way. I need a major shake up, otherwise the series will become a two hit wonder.
To prepare myself for the inevitable, Iâ€™ve started a new playlist complete with sad love songs. Iâ€™ve got some wine and popcorn, even reading books with devastating, heartbroken heroines, to get me in the right frame of mind. So far, I just canâ€™t bring myself to break Gabriella and Phillippe up. I could write the breakup, but what if they donâ€™t find their way back to each other. Yes, it would open the door to another book or would it? Another strike against being a pantserâ€¦know it all characters. Itâ€™s all Gabriella and Phillippeâ€™s fault. Why canâ€™t they be like Alex and Moses. Those two made it perfectly clear how their relationship was going to play out from the moment they met.
Iâ€™ve trusted Gabriella and Phillippe through two books. I have to admit, I was surprised at the story they told in Part Two. Trust is the key word here. I have to trust my ability to tell a story that will engage my readers, yet not be boring or predictable. Talk about a challenge. Like Carrie Underwood said, â€œJesus take the wheel.â€
In my quest to over think, I came up with a few reasons why they would breakup. Have Phillippe realize he really canâ€™t deal with a non sexual relationship. Which makes him look like the typical self-absorbed Alpha Billionaire in training with a slight French accent.
Then thereâ€™s the shocker that she doesnâ€™t want to get married and she just considers this a great first love. Sounds good, but makes her look like a gold-digging whore, I mean tramp.
Or, I could go with the classic, she loses her virginity to him, gets pregnant and he doesnâ€™t want to have anything to do with her or the baby. This would paint her as a naive single mother, with an uncertain future and a whole lot of anger.
Last but not least, a dreaded family secret preventing him from continuing the relationship. Problem with that one is it makes him look a little weak and that goes against the image Iâ€™ve created of him.
I would love to see a HEA, but these characters may not. Unlike Alex and Moses, I broke them up a couple of times. Oh crap! I wasnâ€™t supposed to tell you that, but I didnâ€™t tell you how their story plays out. Iâ€™ll just say this, I have a playlist loaded with sad love songs.
I also donâ€™t think this angst would be such a big deal if the book hadnâ€™t been as successful as it has. Iâ€™ll rephrase that. I hoped it would do well, but this is a surprise blessing. Yes, I called my book thatâ€™s packed with a few steamy innuendoes and a blessing.
About a month before the free promotion, while it was still at regular price, it got to #167 without any promotion. When I did my first KDP Five Free Days, it made it all the way to #2 in one of my categories on Amazon. I stopped trying to figure out why itâ€™s being received so well. And to be honest, I donâ€™t care. Iâ€™m just grateful and thankful to God that it is doing well. This little book, is a great gateway to my other books.
Back to my problem, how to deal with my broken heart. Sunday or maybe it was late Saturday night. Anyway, I really started feeling a sense of loss towards this book. Sunday I picked up The Good Girl Part Two and started on the revisions and the more I read, the clearer it became that I needed to do something drastic. I kicked around ideas, all of which caused me more grief than relief. It was well around one in the morning when I gave up fighting. prayed and went to sleep.
Later, when I woke up, during my prayer time, I got a revelation for a possible plot idea. Iâ€™m not going to share it, in case those two bossy characters decide they want to go in another direction. I will say this, it will be emotionally painful to write, however, I think itâ€™s going to lead to the perfect next step.
Funny thing, long before the dread of the breakup popped up, another scene began to bounce around my headâ€¦and itâ€™s good. At least I think it is. Only problem, once I write it, I think thatâ€™s when the real heart break will come, because it will be the end of Gabriella and Phillippeâ€™s story as I see it. As writers you know a series never really ends, it just gives birth to a another baby.
So I have a few questions for you. How do you handle the breakup of your characters? Do you find it difficult to breakup your characters perfect relationship? Is the road to HEA easy or painful for you?