Endings – And Why They’re So Important in a Romance
Hello Romance Writers,
I’m up to the second ‘E’ post in my Romance Writing from A to Z series. And I think it’s potentially the most important post of the entire series. Do you know why?
That’s right. The ending is what defines the romance genre. If you’re an avid reader of romance, then you’ll already know what I’m going to say next.
The ending must be HAPPY!
That’s the whole point of a romance. Romance readers what a happy ending, or a happy for now. Think Cinderella – she lives happily ever after and gets Prince Charming in the end.
If it doesn’t have one of these types of endings, then love, it’s not a romance – it’s a love story. Think Romeo and Juliet – classic lovestory that ends in tragedy. Not a romance.
The Definition of Romance
A ‘romance’ is defined by the presence of two basic elements: a love-story that is central to the story, and an emotionally-satisfying and optimistic ending. Most novels, whatever the genre, have some sort of romantic encounter/relationship in them somewhere, as do most films. Pair-bonding is such an integral part of human life and without it, the human race would become extinct. Perhaps that's why over half the mass market paperbacks sold every year are romances of one sort or another.Read more at the RWA website
The exception to this rule in a romance is when you’re writing a series. The ending of the first book might not be happily ever after or happy for now, because there’s an overarching plot that carries over a few books and will eventually end on a happy note.
(Spoiler Alert) In my rom-com Robin Lockslay, I have the protagonist, Robin, wind up temporarily hating her love interest, Marius, because he had to arrest her. This was something inevitable, and although their feelings for each other intensified during the book, I paved the way for Marius’s actions from the start. He’s a cop, and she’s a thief.I couldn’t sacrifice his moral code too much without taking the story on an entirely different tangent. Plus I wanted Robin to deal with the bad decisions she’s made in the past – the arrest makes for excellent conflict during the sequel where I intend to explore their relationship further.
So by the time I finish the last book in the series, I want my hero and heroine to fall in love and live happily ever after, despite the multitude of conflict I’ve sent their way. If I make it too easy for them, I believe the ending won’t feel as deserved. Plus it’s a modern gender twist on the Robin Hood tale – nothing came easy for Robin Hood.