I’m writing my first romance novel. I think my ending is creative and powerful. My critique group agrees . . . but they still want me to rewrite it. I don’t end with the two lovers together. My group says they have to be, that a romance novel MUST have a happy ending. But that’s so predictable. Does it really have to?
Desperately Seeking an UNhappy Ending
Dear Desperately Seeking an UNhappy Ending…
Only if you want that romance novel to sell. Fans of romance novels are a loyal group—when they find an author they love, they stick with that author, book after book. But if you disappoint them, you’ll be needing more than roses and chocolates to win back their hearts. A super way to disappoint them is to deny them their Happily Ever After. They’ve got an acronym for it—HEA—so you know they’re serious. Sure, exceptions that KIA the HEA have value and are legitimate, but the masses demand HEA. There’s a certain escapism going on for Romance readers; they read for the affirmation of true love, and HEA endings deliver that. But why do you think Happily Ever After equals predictability? How you bring about your HEA is where that creativity of yours can shine. Ditch the picket fence, can the fairy tales, and bring those lovers together in a way that no one could predict. You are in control, not the genre. This way, everyone gets their dose of happy.
The EditorP.S. For more on this topic, read Romance Novels