I’m delighted to be able to welcome my friend, and fabulous writer, Jacqueline Brocker, to my site today, with not one, but three new stories to talk about…
First, let me thank Kay for giving me space on her blog to blather at you, and second, to congratulate her on the awesome ETO win! Isn’t it just marvellous?
Aww- thank you- I’m still in shock!
And now, on with the post…
A Sense of an Ending
Why am I here? I’ve had three short stories come out this year from Forbidden Fiction – two m/m (Bare Blue Steel and Precious Metal), one f/m (Fool’s Gold), and each in different genres (Precious Metal is science fiction and Bare Blue Steel is contemporary, while Fool’s Gold is historical fantasy). All of them are also erotica, but none are really romance. (I feel almost duty bound to say this, because people can get confused these days). Maybe sort of if you squint at two of them, but I’d be hesitant to recommend them to a romance reader. Why? They may not get that Happily Ever After that a reader expects with romance.
It’s a tricky thing coming up with a good ending for any story, and it seems to be an increasingly fraught issue with erotica. I’ll come to that in a moment, but first I’d like to look at the idea of happy endings.
There are two things that I want to focus on first. On the one hand, there is the idea (I don’t have evidence for this, more gut instinct) that if you say you don’t write happy endings, people interpret that to mean all your stories are Romeo and Juliet or Hamlet – tragic endings with half the cast dead and the scene awash with blood. On the other hand, there is another idea that happy endings immediately render the story inferior in quality, that happy endings are ‘disney-fied’ and pandering to the audience – as if the Hamlet-esque ending makes the story somehow superior just by the nature of its ending. It is, I suspect, one of the reasons that romance is often sneered at (there are other reasons that I don’t have the space to discuss here).
Two extremes, and anyone who has read a lot of books, watched a lot of films, partaken in any kind of story telling medium, knows this is nonsense. Anyone who has read a lot knows there is a whole range of possibilities, not even a sliding scale between happy and tragic, but ideas all over the map of what makes a good ending. Trouble is, it’s starting to feel like erotica can only have the happy ending, that it is an off-shoot of romance so ergo must follow its conventions, that it must offer either a sense of optimism or a level of comfort. Neither of which are bad in and of themselves – for the right story, they’re perfect and absolutely the way those stories should end. It worries me though when writers – especially those like me who write what they think is erotica rather than romance – feel obligated to make sure that’s the kind of story they are telling in order to get published. Or even just to be read.
Does this mean I want blood-soaked tragedy and sense of hopelessness at the end of my tales? Hardly. My belief with endings is that they have to make sense to the story and to the characters. And there is such a gamut of ways to end a story: philosophically, optimistically (even if the romantic pairing aren’t together), pensively, ambiguously. Maybe you’re satisfied with where the characters are at in life, maybe it leaves you wondering what happens next. Maybe you’re fearful for their fate, but it’s been left hanging in the balance. Maybe there is a mix of hope and despair, maybe it is bittersweet. Maybe they are together, but oh dear, you think, what a terrible idea! Or maybe the characters going their own way is the best and happiest thing for both (or all three, or more…) of them. There is such a variety of ways a story can end that is such a shame to feel trapped by just one.
So, does all that entice you to read any of the stories I’ve written to see how I’ve concluded them? Well, how that ends, dear reader, is up to you…
Blurbs and Information/Buy Links
When Anne Delahaye, captain of the pirate ship the Merriment, is lead to a chest of coins with unusual markings, she assumes that she’s been cheated. But when she learns that the coins may be the key to a strange cave where desires become reality, she goes to find out for herself. What she finds there brings up memories and desires of a life she thought was gone.
Information (Except, Content Labels): http://forbiddenfiction.com/story/JB1-1.000237
Hector’s life as a cyborg, after an accident that left him with a mechanical arm and metal jaw, shouldn’t affect his sex life—but his partner, Kay, can’t bring himself to be intimate with a man who’s half-machine. Hector needs to find a way to convince Kay that LanceCorp didn’t replace the most important part of him—his heart.
Information (Except, Content Labels): http://forbiddenfiction.com/story/JB1-1.000194
Bare Blue Steel
Jimmy adores his boyfriend Tom, with his slick suits, fedoras, and cool demeanour. When Jimmy discovers a revolver in Tom’s bedside drawers, he is confronted with the truth about Tom’s business activities. How did he miss the signs? Or has Jimmy been ignoring the truth about Tom to hide from the truth about himself?
Information (Except, Content Labels): http://forbiddenfiction.com/story/JB1-1.000193
Many thanks for visiting today Jacqui!
Happy reading everyone,