Of course, I want to finish my novels, I don’t really know what’s stopping me from writing the endings. I need to jump back into my universes and be done with it. So… I’ll start in order.
She moves back to New Mexico with hear daughter. After Jesse comes back into their lives, I pretty much decide he is going to stay in their lives. He doesn’t like the idea that she moves back to New Mexico. Lena was living happily in Brooklyn with her best friend, her friend’s little boy and suddenly decides that she wants to come home. She’s tired of the big city, she doesn’t have the energy or the desire to work as hard as she does, her best friend died from AIDS which left her emotionally wrecked and she’s afraid that her family is right, that she’ll only come home if and when she gets sick. She’s also afraid she’s getting too close to Jesse.
So the summer after Jonathan dies, she packs up her life and her daughter’s life, then she buys a car and decides to travel cross county on the move home. They’ll live in the little house her great-aunt left her when she died. That’s a relationship that I now want to explore. Lena was scared of the aunt but the aunt adored Lena. This great aunt character might make for an interesting short story.
Anyway, I read the last part of this story recently and while there are things about it I really like, I just don’t feel like any of it works. Yes. Lena comes home. She struggles to find a job. Jesse shows up at Christmas, unplanned. Her daughter is unhappy. She’s miserable– but she’s strong and healthy– yet the fact that she might get sick looms over her. Now that I’ve also been spending time with children Mila’s age, I think I know what she can comprehend at her age. She will be a wise kid, with a pretty old soul. I think it still makes sense that she’d be upset and angry when she finds out her mom might get sick one day. I also think she fantasizes about her mom and papi getting together, but doesn’t quite grasp why they are not together. That Christmas, like the first Christmas in the story is very heavy, emotional and dramatic. Maybe the ending is actually at this Christmas, leaving the reader to wonder if Lena and Jesse get back together.
I’m not sure– I thought it might end in NYC, with it being obvious that Lena and Jesse get back together. I was going to send her to Europe with Nick and Mila where they’d spend a school year living in Barcelona making it able for them to travel. In Spain, Nick was going to meet a fabulous tennis player, fall in love, stay there and teach at a university there on exchange. In my head, he and the tennis player will marry (as gay marriage is legal in Spain). He’d eventually tell her to move into his apartment in the West Viliage. It never felt like home to him without Jonathan.
When they get back to the states, Mila is going to spend the summer with Jesse in NYC and Lena is supposed to get on a plane to come back home to NM. She doesn’t. Originally, I have her showing up on Jesse’s doorstep not sure what she wants to do. After a night’s sleep, she is still unsure. I then have her, Jesse and Mila go to Jonathan and Nick’s apartment, where she asks him if he wants to be with her, which he does.
I’m actually ok with them getting together in the end and maybeIs in the end it makes sense they get back together but, maybe I’m just copping out. She’s been totally ok on her own for 8 years, she’s strong and healthy despite having an compromised immune system and a probably AIDS diagnosis in her future one day, but as a writer I won’t ever go there in her story.
In my head, they get back together and have a good life. I just don’t know how to make it all work.
Isabel’s story: isn’t nearly as complicated. I just am having trouble trying to pare down some of the stuff that happens. She moves to Prague with Tomas. I’ve pretty much decided to get rid of one of his siblings, the oldest sister, who just never fleshed out for me anyway. The other brother doesn’t really have to make an appearance in the story– we just know he works in Slovakia. Has had three relationships and has children from all three– two are being raised by his parents and he’s involved with the mother of his youngest child, a daughter. I think also, maybe having just one sister will work better. And the sister-in-law can be her sympathic friend. I think it’s important to flesh out Tomas and his family but the story is really Isabel’s story and the stuff that will happen in Europe is important to her story.
However, if I drop the older sister who lives in America, then the idea of Tomas’ parents coming to the states every summer to spend time with her and her family, won’t work. I don’t see his parents as having the means to travel to the states every year. While, I think his father is an engineer, (Tomas has to get the idea about building things from somewhere) he’s not wealthy. I figure he worked for the Communist government most of his life– well they all did back then. I can’t decide what his mother did for a living under the Communist regime and what she does now. It was so much easier before the damn plot twist. I still think I need to make him have a realistic family, even though I won’t write too much with them. Again, it’s her family that I need to focus on and how it all works out.
Still, I think I’ll keep the ending from Andrew’s point of view, which will be the wedding back at the Cathedral, only because it’s sort of his take on her big day. The story starts with her take on his big day. But by writing the stuff that happens between leaving for Prague and returning to Santa Fe for the wedding is important and necessary.