Someone asked me recently if all my books ended the same way. I responded with “Of course they do!” And they looked at me strangely. I write romance and one of the requirements is that the story ends with a Happily Ever After. Now don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of people out there who are trying to go against the norm, but for a book to be considered a romance it needs to have a Happily Ever After. Or at least a Happy for Now (More on that later).
I have loved reading romance ever since I was young, although I never realized what hooked me until I got into writing it. Life is tough sometimes and it makes you feel out of control. I know when I pick up a romance book that there is one thing that’s certain. My two favorite people are going to get together in the end. Oh sure, there will be ups and downs and many times I think they won’t make it but for me it’s the journey that keeps me reading. A good romance for me has a centralized focus on the characters and their relationship.
The confusing part is when you read a romance book expecting something spectacular in the end and one of the main characters dies. Folks, let me be clear, if one of the main characters die it is not a romance. It is a tragedy. Shakespeare did not write romance. In real life we know that Happily Ever Afters don’t always happen. Bad things occur, people die, there is no spark, he kisses like a dog, I get it. But when I’m reading a book and I want to disappear into a unknown world there better be some happy thoughts at the end.
Romantic story lines make sense in most books and that’s not what I’m talking about here. Many readers discover new genres because of romance story lines. I started reading fantasy and paranormal books as a teenager but loved the relationships that were built between the characters. You can imagine my surprise when I learned there was a massive amount of books out there that focused on the love story! I was hooked immediately. To this day I still love a good fantasy novel but my guilty pleasure is a romance book I can finish in a day.
For many writers the desire be a trend setter is great, but not when it comes to romance. There are hundreds of genres out there that your story will fit into. Find one and market to it, but leave the Happily Ever After’s in romance for now. Trust me, it’s 2020, we need it.