I’ve been working on the current revision in fits and starts since the fall, all the while doubting one aspect of the story, and all because long ago an agent rejected it with the comment that the romance was underdeveloped.
Fine, if I’d written a romance I’d have serious problems, but I didn’t write a romance. However, for years her comment followed me around, so I started to think it had merit in a way I didn’t yet understand.
The truth is, my protagonist does end up with one of the male characters. But the fact that she does isn’t the point of the novel. You know what I mean? If that were the point of the novel, it would be a romance.
But it’s not a romance.
Yet, since the agent rejection, I’ve pondered the love subplot, feeling vaguely uncomfortable. There is something off about it, isn’t there? I thought of adding scenes that showed the pair miscommunicating, coming to terms, falling out again, and so on.
But this would turn it into a romance, a completely different story altogether.
So here I am, right now, sitting with marked-up page 196, my breakfast/lunch, and an epiphany that arrived while I scrambled eggs with spinach. And what a bloody relief! Years, I mean years, this thing has been noodling at me every time I thought about this manuscript.
Ready? Ta-da: It’s not that I have to change the novel to fit the end. Rather, I need to alter the final chapters so the love aspect doesn’t read like it was the point of the novel.
Does this make sense?
It does to me. It’s so simple! And I’m sitting here quietly celebrating as if I’ve discovered the ultimate writing secret. Now, I’m gung-ho again. It’s like magic.
The real mystery is why it took me years to figure out this simple fix!