Happily Ever After - or Maybe Not?
Updated: Oct 8
Do you prefer books with a Happily Ever After ending or those that leave a question open for debate?
Stories in the Romance genre have a Happily Ever After ending. In the Mystery genre, the end reveals "whodunnit".
Ancient Greeks used "Deus ex Machina" to introduce an unlikely character or power at the last minute who solves an unsolvable problem. However, today's reader may be left disappointed by such an unrealistic ending.
Often, a Christian fiction shows dilemmas resolved by faith in Jesus. This can put the novel at risk of having an ending that is predictable or unrealistic, leaving the reader disappointed. The reader must be engaged with the characters and rooting for them to take actions to achieve their goals. Suspense builds as the main character faces challenges, and there is a chance that the character fails in their quest.
I have found that in the real world, faith in Jesus must be combined with actions that we take as individuals. Psychological wounds need to be cleaned and treated. Mental health problems may require professional help, counselling or medication. Decisions require careful analysis and deep courage.
In my novel you will see the steps that the main characters take to arrive at a resolution. As with life, there will also be some loose ends, some questions unanswered and left for discussion. And there will be the continuing existence of evil powers that threaten to break us, temptations that bring back your former fears, and people or powers that abuse you or put you down.
Individuals need techniques to face these challenges. I want my readers to know that they are not alone in their struggles, and that there is hope.
"Out of Brokenness: The Forgotten Followers" features two very different women, each on their own quest. Mary of Clopas is struggling with abuse as a child that has left her with crippling anxiety and selective mutism. Watch as she takes actions to address her feelings of low self-worth, of being undesirable and undeserving. Root for her to find her gifts and her purpose. Joanna is broken by loyalty to both sides of her mixed-race heritage. Should she continue to pass as a Hebrew and cancel the Greek side of her heritage? Should she use her wealth and influence to speak for those of mixed-race who have been victims of racism? A lot is at risk for her: she could lose her husband, her child, her friends, the grandfather who raised her, her wealth, and her home. Will she think it is worth it to let others know of her mixed-race heritage?
I call myself a Christian fiction writer because I am a Christian. I believe in the truthful authority of the Bible and that Jesus died and rose again to allow us to be forgiven and join the family of God. However, in my novel the characters face their troubles by both faith and action. I hope that by including untraditional Biblical interpretations where traditional interpretations have countered the greatest commandment: to love. I hope this novel helps those who have previously been hurt or excluded from the church to receive the acceptance and love of God.
How do you feel about novels that resolve the main character's quest while leaving some things vague for interpretation or discussion? Do you prefer a tidy happily ever after, with all challenges resolved?