Happy ever after?

Endings are hard.

That’s true of life, and it’s certainly true of writing novels, I’ve discovered.

My manuscript, working title The Other Me, has two narrative storylines and requires a satisfying ending for each. So I’ve got double trouble with concluding this book.

I’ve thought of a bunch of different options, but which to choose? How can I figure out which my readers will most resonate with? I have to think of what will please most people. Two happy endings? One happy and one hopeful but ambiguous? One hopeful and one downright heartbreaking? Another combination thereof?

What’s more, I have two love interests in this book, so which of those guys would that happiness be found with, in either narrative? So many options!

I’m a sucker for a happy ending in general, and I’m writing commercial women’s fiction – emphasis on the commercial. So this needs to be my priority.

On finishing my (very rough) first draft, I settled on one hopeful-with-sad-elements and one happy. However, an early reader said that the sad elements were just too sad for a commercial novel of this kind.

I took her point. So now I’m thinking of going happy/happy but with two different guys, one for each narrative. However, I’m not sure if even that will work, as there is arguably one guy who is “better” than the other – the primary rather than secondary love interest. (If this was Twilight, the equivalent of Edward or Jacob!)

So my plan is to write that as one option, and put that in front of some test readers. I’ll also do a one-happy, one-hopeful combination of endings, both with the same main guy to put in front of other readers. Then I’ll figure out which is best received.

It’s like a Hollywood test screening! Watch this space.