And when A (bukan nama sebenar... nama sebenar dia Adrian, ahahahahah... macam pointless je letak initial ala mysterious) asked me how I am going to end the story, and I told him, he said, "That won't cut it la, Syahida."
"Eh, kenapa pulak tak?"
"Girls loves players. That won't cut it."
"They do. But then they learn their lesson."
"No, they don't. You did. But most of them don't."
And then he proceed talking about how I write Neal in my book, saying that I am processing the character too much, giving him heart and all that.
"Chick digs that," he said (he didn't say 'dig', I was just trying to sound all American and cool in this post... did I succeed?)
"Of course la," aku kata. "Chick loves tragic bad guys with backstories. That's what Neal akan kata dalam cerita ni. Dia akan explain teori tu, how chicks are so easily swayed by back stories of how a bad boy becomes bad boy, and how he used that to reel them in."
"Tapi kalau you memang nak tulis pasal bad boy gone good, they will forget the fact about him being bad and would want the guy to win in the end. Chick loves bad boys learning how to love mahh. That's how players breathe and survive the game."
Aku kata ini just novel, and people will get it. People will get why Wulan did what she did.
Tapi kata A (memang nama sebenar), "What you did was reality, Syahida. But people tak suka reality. Diorang nak fantasy. Kau burukkanlah macam mana pun, in the end, they will want the guy to succeed. Sebab dalam dunia fantasy, semua orang deserves a second chance and people who don't give them are twats." (his words, not mine).
Aku kata tak. Pembaca dah matang. Dia orang dah tau read between the lines. That's why Cecelia Ahern works. Cecelia tak pernah spoon-feed her readers. She makes them think. "PS I Love You" tak end with watak utama finding someone new to replace her husband. She found herself and the rest is just readers concluding her happily ever-afters for her. "If You Could See Me Now" tak end up with Ivan turning human. It ends with Elizabeth finding herself, and again, readers conclude her happily ever-afters for her. Dalam "The Time of My Life", Lucy memang end up with that carpet guy, tapi that's not the main point of the story. The carpet guy is just one of the crossroads in her finding herself. Every single novel written by Ahern is a self-reflecting journey. Kalau pembaca Ahern boleh faham itu, maksudnya people can understand Wulan. Wulan is not as complex a character like Lucy or Elizabeth or Holly, but she is also finding herself. These people who came into her life, Neal, Henry, Joy, even James... is the crossroads.
And A answered something like this, "Nope. Girls love badboys. I cakap ni based on experience. You give him heart and they will pity him. They will want his happily ever-afters and disregard Wulan's. They will think it's Wulan's happiness too, instead of realising that it will only break her in the end. If you give her independence, you can't give him heart. It will backfire."
Aku tak dengar cakap Adrian. Dia bukan novelis. He was only speaking from an ex-player's standpoint.
But sometimes, I wish I did listen to him.