I’m a sucker for a good romance, and I love reading Happily Ever Afters. But when I sat down to write my first romantic tale, The Burning of Isobel Key, I wasn’t sold on the idea of a HEA for my characters. I know, blasphemy, right? Still, a case can be made for romance authors to stray away from HEA endings. Here are a few things to consider:
1. HEA are sweet, but expected. Don’t you want to do something different?
2. HEA don’t leave as much room to revisit the story later. Maybe you can offer an HEA later in the series!
3. It’s good to challenge characters and readers. If the characters are bored, readers will be, too.
4. Real life romance doesn’t always have a HEA. We might wish it did, but that’s just not the way of things.
5. Sometimes, a HEA will actually limit your characters (think unfinished dreams, etc.) What if she never gets to become a nuclear physicist? What if he loses the chance to travel? Any ending will eliminate chances for your characters, not just a HEA.
6. Not all romances have to last forever to get your heart pounding. I’m sure we can all agree with that statement! (In fact, some romances SHOULDN’T last forever, but that doesn’t make them any less swoon worthy!)
Now, those are all strong reasons for me to hold my characters back from a HEA, but what about the other side? Why write HEA?
1. Charming. I mean, really: reading a HEA is almost as satisfying as a bowl of chocolate ice cream.
2. Most everyone loves the idea of a fairy tale ending. Just ask your readers! (Or your mom. Or your best friend).
3. It’s kind to your characters: give them a shot at happiness! Don’t you want them to be happy?
4. It is the romance genre norm. Most romance novels have a HEA ending, and it’s what readers have come to expect.
5. It allows your characters and readers to have closure on a story. If you just want to shut the door on these characters, HEA is the quickest way to create resolution.
There are good reasons to write HEA tales and good reasons to shake things up. Which did I end up choosing in The Burning of Isobel Key? You’ll have to read it and find out!
About the Author:
Jen McConnel first began writing poetry as a child. Since then, her words have appeared in a variety of magazines and journals, including Sagewoman, PanGaia, and The Storyteller (where she won the people’s choice 3rd place award for her poem, “Luna”).
She is also an active reviewer for Voices of Youth Advocates (VOYA), and proud member of SCBWI, NCWN, and SCWW.
A Michigander by birth, she now lives and writes in the beautiful state of North Carolina. When she isn’t crafting worlds of fiction, she teaches writing composition at a community college. Once upon a time, she was a middle school teacher, a librarian, and a bookseller, but those are stories for another time.
If you are interested in reading Jen’s book reviews, follow her at http://displacedyankeeinNC.blogspot.com
If you want to know more about her love of myth and magic, follow her at http://simplegoddessmagic.blogspot.com/
Follow Jen on Twitter @ProDeaWriter