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Jennifer Probst | A Knock Out Ending

June 15, 2012

Jennifer ProbstThe Marriage Bargain

I’ve been thinking about some shared elements of a really great book and movie. Some are easy to spot: great characters, chemistry, sexual tension, decent plot. But one of the unnamed ingredients in a book that makes a reader sigh, cry, and hug the book to her chest in pure love is the knock–out ending.

In the romance novel, happily ever after is a given. Most readers insist on a wonderful satisfying journey to get to the happy ending. But what about the ending itself?

Whether it be the quiet revelation of love or the bigger than life explosion of a character realizing he or she must take a risk, I’m a sucker for the final payoff. Let’s list a few.

The Proposal – The journey between this prickly couple made for the sleeper of the year, and when the hero finally realizes what he’s lost, he goes after her in the big chase and confession we love to see.

My Best Friend’s Wedding – Had it all. The hysterical truck chase, the confession, and the realization this hero was not her happily ever after. Alone at the wedding, trying to be cool with her loneliness, her gorgeous best friend shows up and they dance. The moviegoer knows she’s going to get her happily ever after – and leaves us begging for more. That’s good business.

Susan Elizabeth Phillips hits the knockout every time. Usually I’m so frikkin mad at the hero and his stupidity I want to punch him myself, but I always trust her to make him grovel. The scene where the hero gets to his knees before the heroine in his final loss of pride in Kiss An Angel makes me cry every single time. Even when I’m thinking about it.

Tying up loose ends in a big red bow and presenting it to the reader is a must. But if a writer takes the job a step further, the ending should be bigger than life, and weave all those themes worked within the story together. There needs to be a payoff.

In The Marriage Bargain, my first in the Marriage to a Billionaire series, my hero is the one who has shown the most growth throughout the book and needs to be the character to bring the book home. All the way. And I do it, but I’m not giving it away and spoil the journey!

For The Marriage Trap, Maggie and Michael have a lot of obstacles to overcome and I use all those monsters in the closet to force each of them to confront those demons and grow. Maggie is a broken soul full of fire and spit, so in order for her to truly believe love is meant for her, she needs to be shown. In a big way.

So, this is what happens….

Oops, we are out of time!

I hope you enjoy The Marriage Trap and the ending.

Come stop by and share your favorite endings in movies and book. What type satisfies you the most?

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