Love may make the world go 'round... but Conflict makes a novel go 'round

Now that Where You Are is out, and the description of Good For You is done, I've been asked several times whether or not I plan on taking a reader-favorite couple forward. The short answer is: no. But I'm not much of a short-answer girl, so the longer answer is below, with references! (Well, a reference.)

I love to read, and I've always been capable of getting so involved with characters that they feel real to me. So believe me when I say that I understand the concept of wanting to know what happens to those characters after the novel ends. Truthfully, though, it's never occurred to me to want an author to take a couple beyond their HEA. Maybe that's because inherently, I'm a writer - so I know what taking a couple further means. It means something crappy happens to them.

So when I get to the end of, say, a Sarah Dessen novel, and two people finally get their issues sorted out and get together... I'm good with it. The only reason I decided to write Where You Are is because when I asked myself if the couple in question had been through enough... the answer was no. At the end of Where You Are, the answer is yes.

Here's what one of my favorite YA authors, Gayle Forman, had to say when asked the same thing about a third book for Adam and Mia (If I Stay and Where She Went):

"I am so flattered that you ask. Am so flattered that you want to spend more time with the characters. But think about the ways books work. They operate on conflict." (Here's the whole blog post of what Gayle had to say about Adam and Mia and a third book.)

 

If there's no conflict, there's no story. I'm so sure of this that I dare you to produce the name of a good novel that has no conflict either between or surrounding the main characters. Go ahead, I'll wait.

Yes, I'm aware that Real Life has conflict threaded all the way through it. But that doesn't mean I want to watch Adam and Mia, or Wes and Macy, or Darcy and Elizabeth go through every disagreement about where to live or whether to get a dog or a cat or how to fold the towels or who to invite to the wedding or whether or not her mother should be banned from visiting for longer than three days. I want to leave them there - just ahead of "The End" - with their declarations and the last kiss they share that I'm allowed to witness. I want to imagine that they're happy. I want to go to the next story.

Good For You concerns the character I wanted to write about when I finished Between the Lines. To be honest, I'm not sure if I'm completely done with him. I'm going to let it sit awhile. I'm going to see if the story still rattles, and if so, how much. It takes a lot of questions to require an entire book to answer them. I promise to keep you posted, though.

For now, I'm starting work on something new - a story that's been nagging at me for over a year. I'm excited about writing it, because to me, writing is like telling myself a story. I hope I'll be able to share it with you soon.