Flickr Attribute Jan Willemsen
A romance novel must always have a happy ending or at least the promise of one. Always. No exceptions. No ways around it.
The very idea of never, can't be and shouldn't be done, rankles. My muse glowers at me every time I try to force him to conform, to deal with rules and limitations. I can almost hear him saying 'I could make you write a romance and kill everyone'.
Scary thing is, I bet he could.
Maybe my idea of romance is different. Plays like Romeo and Juliette, like Othello, which I always considered romantic, are called 'tragic comedies'. One of my favourite books by Barbara Michaels, Black Rainbow, is gothic suspense. Any other book I'd list is probably not a 'real' romance.
What about Phantom of the Opera? Or actually, any opera? Aren't they all tragic? And the stories romance, no? Then there's movies like Titanic, Ghost, Pearl Harbor...
Flickr Attribute Professor Mortis
I could probably go on and on and you could probably shut down my every argument by simply saying either, 'that's not really a romance' or 'But that had a HEA'.
Can you have a HEA if one of both of the main characters die? Does the great love they experienced, and the closure of saying goodbye for now, knowing they will be together again, someday, meet happily ever after criteria?
Flickr Attribute Lily Warrior
I think it could. Then again, to me a romance isn't definied by how it ends, but by that moment when, as a reader, I truly feel that what's between the hero and the heroine is real. Nothing can take that away or make it something less—not death, not betrayal, not competition. What happens after is irrelevant. I would say a 'romance' that lacks that precious moment doesn't deserve the title. Let the hero and the heroine marry and grow old together, resolve their predictable misunderstandings, never ever stray. How sweet. Without either of them touching on that purest form of love, something we can all identify with in a raw, basic way, they're just a couple with a story.
Flickr Attribute Elyce Feliz
To me anyway. But I intend to take writing 'dark erotica' (a label given to books that might have romantic scenes and love but don't meet HEA requirements) to a whole new level. Might take me awhile, but one day I'm going to write a gothic romance and trash convention. And no one will be able to debate that the story is a romance.
If I can pull that off, my next goal is learning to fly ;)
Note: I was really bad assuming everyone would get the acronyms, sorry about that.
HEA- Happily Ever After
HFN- Happy For Now
GMAFB- Gimme a Fucking Break