So everyone seems to have enjoyed reading Wild Swans, but what’s really got people talking is the two endings bit where you can choose which guy Elise ends up with. I’ve gotten quite a few messages from people who both liked it or didn’t like it, and I have gotten a lot of pleads for me to voice who I was cheering for.
Before I dive into that, I want to explain why I did it. It’s mostly because I hate love triangles. No, seriously. I hate love triangles. Not only do I find that they rarely happen outside of high school (When was the last time you ran into a 26 year-old guy who confided to you that he and one of his buddies love the same girl? Or have you ever run into a woman in her 40’s who has two handsome men pursuing her?) but it also irks me is that I always end up cheering for the losing side! No joke, I don’t know if it’s just bad luck or what, but if there is a book with a love triangle I always end up picking the guy that the girl does not fall in love with.
It drives me CRAZY!! Whhhhhhy? Why is it that the guy I pick never gets the girl!?! Being that I am apparently bad at picking the “proper” hero/romantic interest, I had a very bad feeling about how The Wild Swans was going to go down. Typically I don’t give readers the choice because, as I mentioned, I don’t like love triangles and I am reluctant to put them in a book, so everyone cheers for the obvious love interest. But I knew The Wild Swans needed the two princes dueling for Elise’s love to make the book more interesting, and I had serious worries that everyone would be upset with me for matching Elise with the “wrong guy.”
I’ll come out and say it: I am a Rune fangirl. As I wrote the book Falk totally grew on me so much so that if I hadn’t been planning the two endings I think I would have had a mid-life crisis and would have quit writing and moved to the hills to become a hermit. But as I was planning out characters and such I knew I wanted Elise to end up with Rune… but I had a feeling most readers would cheer for Falk. Falk tries harder, after all. Being loving comes easily to Rune, not so with Falk. Plus there’s something endearing about his poor communication skills and clumsy compliments.
What was I to do? I adored Rune, but I didn’t want to throw Falk and 3/4 of the readers who probably ship Elise x Falk out the door. The two endings solved this problem. Also, I will admit I wanted to use the brothers to drive home a point: Elise was happy with either man.
A lot of times Fairy Tales portray romance as “You have ONE true love in the WHOLE WIDE WORLD!” To which I would like to say: “If that is true, we’re screwed because if one person marries the wrong person we’re all thrown off track forever.” What I’m trying to say is that love is a choice. Whoever Elise decided she loved would become the one person she should spend the rest of her life with. I know the thought is a little upsetting considering fairy tales are a genre that center around the true love thing, but some trees are meant to be shaken.
That, and just once I wanted to reward all of the people who, like me, pick the losing side every time. Where’s the losing side of the love triangle now? Buwahahah!
Having said all of this, I doubt I will repeat this experiment in the future. I really want to avoid love triangles. I’m all for making a little tension, but I don’t like breaking the spirit of the poor guy who gets left out. It makes me feel bad. 🙁