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Other Challenges Writing Merciful Law – Darby Rae

Other Challenges Writing Merciful Law

Last week I wrote about the biggest challenge in writing Merciful Law. It was the first chapter. It took multiple iterations until I felt chapter one achieved its dual purpose of beginning the story and hooking the reader. I believed if the beginning didn’t capture the reader’s interest, the book would be put down, and that reader would write me off forever. (That would be my optimism shining through.)

The ending has a different pressure, but the same negative outcome if it isn’t good. At Easter dinner my family and I talked about books with poor endings. The general consensus was even if we enjoyed the story, it has to have a strong ending or we’d be reluctant to buy another book from that author. Conversely, a less than stellar book can be redeemed with a powerful ending. A bit like childbirth—you forget the pain of the process if it ends well.

I confessed the first chapter was written and re-written at least seven times. So how many re-writes did the final 20 or so pages go through? Frankly, I lost track. But the last time was during the final editing process three weeks before it went to the printer. I believe my agent was on Prozac by then.

Without giving too much away, I felt the original ending was more in line with a pure romance novel, not romantic suspense (one classification Merciful Law is under), and definitely not adventure/suspense (the other classification it is under). The much longer ending also diluted the action and suspense of the (current) last 100 pages.

Similar to the beginning of the story, I realized I had goals for the ending of the story. First, and like the beginning, I didn’t want it to be predictable. Second, it had to tie up any lose end (or character). Third, it had to be believable. And finally, the last chapter had to leave the reader wanting to read another novel written by yours truly. =)

If you’ve read the final chapter, I’d love to hear your feedback. Did it end how you thought it would? Were you surprised by the ending? Don’t be too specific or we’ll spoil it for others!

Happy writing,


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