Anticipation: the action of anticipating something; expectation or prediction.
Suspense: a state or feeling of excited or anxious uncertainty about what may happen.
The line between the two terms is very fine. They almost intersect at some point. Yet the term “suspense” definitely carries a more ominous tone.
I pride myself as being a sister of the Sisterhood of Suspense. I write about people in situations where they are experiencing “anxious uncertainty.” The outcome could be bad. Yet, as potential love partners, they also feel a positive expectation. Hopeful uncertainty.
That’s what the holidays always hold for me. Hopeful uncertainty. I’m never sure of exactly how the days will play out: what there will be more of—smiles and laughter, or painful, reminiscent tears. Because that’s also what the holidays conjure up: memories of times past, when loved ones now lost are no longer able to participate in the festivities. Yet I hang onto the anticipation of joy in the revisiting of old traditions. There is a certain comfort there.
And so here I sit, on the threshold of a brand new year, a brand new, promising beginning. A chance to make resolutions for change. To start anew. To revive old dreams. To ignite enthusiasm for dreams still in their infancy.
This year ends for me with much anticipation, but also with some suspense. In recent months, a scary medical diagnoses has thrown my life across the threshold from anticipation to suspense: from hopeful expectation to anxious uncertainty. The “someday” I’ve always set my sights on has suddenly become hazy on the horizon. My own future, instead of lying hidden, hopeful, somewhere just beyond my line of vision, has zoomed frighteningly—possibly—closer.
But I remind myself: I am a writer of romantic suspense. Yes, there is anxiety, even trepidation in my stories that everything may not turn out alright. But as a romance writer, I know in my heart, there will be a happy ending. That’s the very definition of a romance. There will always, always, be a happy ending.
That’s the other thing I love about being an author—I have complete control over what happens just before those two little words: The End. So, I’m going to take advantage of my authorial license to declare, right here and now, that my story, as well as all my fictional stories, will end happily.
And you know what the other term for that sentiment is?