To HEA or not to HEA (HEA= Happily Ever After)
I am in the middle of doing a short story and my original idea ended with the hero poignantly reflecting on the fact that while they were enjoying terrific sex she didn’t want anything more from their relationship.
Which is a great ending for a writer – we like to push ourselves and our ideas and anything ‘out of the ordinary’ or which makes our characters search their souls is wonderful to us.
But in romance (erotic romance or normal romance) the reader doesn’t necessarily want an ‘arty’ or soul-searching ending – if we’ve made them fall in love with the characters then they want the characters to fall in love and live happily ever after.
Similarly, if you try to kill off a beloved character – generally you can only get away with it if the character is old and would be dying at some point anyway. They may weep buckets but you won’t lose their devotion to you and will continue to read your future books.
So how have I got around this – well, the only characters I kill off are usually the baddies who deserve to die anyway! (There’s a particularly gruesome killing in ‘The Last Werewolf’).
I toyed with killing off one of the heroes from the Alien Manhunt series and having him come back either as his twin (who has telepathic abilities and knows everything that his brother did) or as his clone – did I do either…. You will have to read ‘Alien Manhunt 3’ to find out! LOL
So back to the HEA or not… one option we writers have is the HFN – Happily for Now. After all, in some of our stories our characters have only just met and had a passionate night/weekend or some such short period of time. It seems unreal to have them declaring their love quite so soon. But the publishers are not always happy with that resolution, even though they do give us the option of having a HFN.
In the case of the short story, which is intended for an anthology call, I rechecked the submission guidelines and it clearly says HEA is essential.
‘Blast!’ – okay, so to rethink. After a quick rewrite, the hero is still poignantly considering how much he loves her and how to persuade her that they would be good together, when she does something startling…. (I’m not saying what!)….
Watch this space.