I love happy endings. Doesn’t everyone? The problem is that real life is filled with unhappy endings. We all die in the end – even the good guys.
The question of when, how, or whether to kill the good guys presents a dilemma for every author, particularly if the book is part of a series rather than a stand-alone. If I kill this character will it ruin the ending? Will it dramatically alter future books in the series? Will it be the end of the series?
If I don’t kill this character will it weaken the ending? Will it compromise the integrity of the entire narrative? Will the character devolve into a cartoon stick figure if he continues to defy death against all odds?
Let me be clear. I love iconic heroes like Travis McGee, James Bond, Jack Reacher, Alex Cross, Doc Ford, Spenser, Anna Pigeon, and so many more. I also have to admit that I find it somewhere between implausible and ridiculous that they continue to live to fight another day. At some point a series needs to either evolve or end.
Why am I writing about this? I finished my third novel in the Howard family/Wild Pony Ranch series less than a week ago. The title of the book is Tears at Sunrise. That’s all I have to say. Make of it what you will.