The Write Choice?
I'm so conflicted! What do you think?
Friends, I’m in a quandary. I’m hoping you will DROP A COMMENT and give me your advice. While I think I know what to do, I’m still very conflicted.
Quandaries don’t suit me. I don’t like second-guessing decisions. I’m one of those people who doesn’t review answers on exams. My first choice is my best choice, and any time I do rethink an answer, I usually had it right the first time. I also don’t like letting too much clutter my mental real estate. Maybe it’s from 10 years of teaching middle school, but if something must be decided, let’s decide it and move on (before thirty 13-year-olds get restless lol). If the choice was “wrong,” we will learn and correct as we go.
But my first choice has been rethought, and I’ve gone with option two in this situation. Maybe that’s why it’s not sitting well with me. Maybe that’s why I can’t put the decision to rest in my head.
Quick “Your Turn”: Do you deliberate over choices, or make them quickly and move on?
So here’s the setup and situation. I’m very curious to hear your thoughts on this one!
In case you don’t know, I write romance novels. Each one features a woman learning to fall in love with herself and accept her flaws. She has to come to terms with the parts of herself that she uses as a shield for her heart. She must learn to embrace who she really is and what she really wants. Only then is she ready to love her partner and commit to a relationship.
If you’ve been reading my newsletter for any time, or if you know me at all, these themes make sense. It is what I coach clients to do. Wellness coaching is about giving yourself the grace, and the time, to work on making the changes you want in life. About finding the intersection of health and your busy schedule while knowing that both can happen.
Obviously too, learning to embrace who I am and love me for me is a huge lesson I’ve learned personally!
But I digress.
New book is coming out May 30. This is the first time I’m working with a publisher. (More on my publishing journey in another post.) This book, The Not So Nice Girl, is a love story set in 1986. It has spicy record store shenanigans, an awesome friend group, and plenty of 80s summer vibes.
It also tackles themes of a woman’s right to choose and defying gender roles and expectations.
So while the story is sweet and fun as Sam and Eleanor fall in love, there are some demons to be faced. The climatic scene is fairly tense, but short.
Here’s the rub.
The epilogue is intense. So much so that, in an interview, someone asked me if I’ve ever thought of writing a thriller.
Let’s call the epilogue a medical drama. Rest assured that, despite the tension, it ends happily. Very sweetly. Sam and Eleanor endure through the worst moment of their lives and come through together. (This isn’t a spoiler–all romance novels must have a happily ever after. It’s part of the genre!)
Also, it is an important link to my first novel, Not Suitable for Work.
I’ve had feedback that the epilogue is jarring and doesn’t vibe with the rest of the novel’s tone.
I’ve also had feedback that the epilogue is powerful and leaves readers thinking about the book long after they finished. The impact is important.
We have decided to cut the epilogue from the book.
This is my conflict.
We (my publisher and I) have decided that it will be better to make a cliffhanger-style mini epilogue to include in the novel. That cliffhanger will come with an offer for readers to contact me to get the “real” epilogue. The scene will become bonus material.
This offers a satisfying resolution for those who don’t want to go deeper, and a wide open door for dedicated fans to follow me into the darkest, most powerful chapter I ever wrote.
I love and hate this idea.
I love that committed readers can go that extra step with me. I hate that all readers won’t get to experience the ending the way it really happens, the way I intended it.
As an author, you have to be comfortable cutting scenes, even ones you love. But this is different. This feels like a huge moment in the world of my novels that casual readers will miss.
But maybe it’s fine for them to miss it? Maybe it’s cool if only some people get the exclusive scene?
What do you think?
As a reader, which obviously you are, what is your reaction to this situation?
I’ll be honest–just writing this out has made me feel better about the decision, so thank you already! But really, I would love to hear your thoughts.
Am I doing the right thing with my epilogue??