July 5, 2012

I WANT MY HAPPILY EVER AFTER - By Kathy Ivan

Let me preface this blog by stating: I am a hopeless romantic. A card carrying, flag waving, cry at sappy commercials romantic. A good love story makes me happy. Watching the characters meet, connect, argue, fall in love, these are all things I thoroughly enjoy reading. There's nothing like a wonderfully romantic story to make me feel good inside.

Now here's my RANT. I want my happy ending. Like any modern day fairy tale, give me that Happily Ever After. I know the trend with chick lit and women's fiction can often be happy for now, and that okay, but when I'm reading a book regardless of the specific genre, that has been touted and categorically stated to be a romance, you darn well better give my that satisfactory conclusion, the hero and heroine professing their love and wanting to be together forever.



I just finished a book (supposedly a paranormal romance) that was a decent read. Written in first person, the characters were engaging, the conflict okay, and the story moved along at a good pace. The sexual tension built without the couple actually having sex, and I'm fine with that, allowing the chemistry move the story along. The secondary story line was okay, and the couple confessed they loved each other about 80% of the way through the book. Awww, how sweet. Then near the end of the book, the heroine gets kidnapped and I'm thinking okay, now the hero gets to shine and rescue the girl.

Guess what? Didn't happen. The book ended. Just like that, no conclusion, no resolution, nothing.

Let me tell you, if it had been a physical paper book instead of on my Kindle, that sucker would have hit the wall so fast, smoke would have left a trail behind it. People, people, if you're planning to make your story a series and label it as a romance but want to leave the story open ended; you still need to have a resolution to a lot of the threads you've woven throughout the plot. Give me a happy for now ending with lots of problems still to come, and chances are good I'll buy your next book and your next one after that. Leave me hanging so abruptly with no resolution to any of the goals, motivation and conflict you've build throughout the entire book (and no I won't name names because I don’t believe that's a good thing to do to any author), it will guarantee I'll never buy another book you write, no matter how popular or famous you get. You'll have lots me as a reader permanently.

I am a voracious reader and a hopeless romantic desperately holding onto the hope authors will still give me my HAPPILY EVER AFTER. How about you, do you read to get that happily ever after for your characters, or are you content with just letting the story end with no resolution in sight? Tell me all about what kind of ending you like to see in your books (especially romances).

Kathy Ivan is busy working on her next romantic suspense novel as well as a paranormal novella. When not writing she's working the day job and reading, reading, reading, looking for that next happy ending.

13 comments:

Shelley Munro said...

Kathy,

I like my happy endings too. It's one of the reasons I read romance. I like the predictability of a happy ending.

Kathy Ivan said...

Thanks for stopping by the PP, Shelley. Nothing will make me stop reading an author than to leave me hanging without my HEA. Even when your writing a series, you can still give a hint of things to come without just leaving the reader hanging off the edge of the cliff with no resolution in sight. So not cool!

Sylvia said...

Hi Kathy,
I need my HEA as well. I could be reading Literary Fiction, but I bought the book because it was labeled as a romance. Give me my HEA. In a series you make the next book about someone else in the series, but you better darn well give me an HEA in the first book or else like you it's an automatic delete from the Kindle and I'm not buying the second one.

Sylvia

Sylvia said...

Hi Kathy,
I need my HEA as well. I could be reading Literary Fiction, but I bought the book because it was labeled as a romance. Give me my HEA. In a series you make the next book about someone else in the series, but you better darn well give me an HEA in the first book or else like you it's an automatic delete from the Kindle and I'm not buying the second one.

Sylvia

Kelly L Lee said...

I'm a big fan of series, so finishing on a hook at the end of each book isn't a problem for me. But if the whole thing is left unfinished, that pisses me off too. There at least needs to be partial resolution, otherwise I figure the series has already been written and the publisher basically sliced a huge manuscript into chunks to market and sell them separately to make more money. I'm not naive about how publishers market a series, but blatant disregard for reader satisfaction really gets me going. Vote with your dollars, folks.

Addison said...

Kathy:

I'm with you - especially if the book is labeled as a romance. I'll give leeway if it's another genre, but if I pick up a romance, I expect my HEA!!

Addison

Liese said...

The very definition of romance (per RWA) is a story about two people who overcome struggles and "their relationship is rewarded with emotional justice and unconditional love." If one is kidnapped, where's the emotional justice and unconditional love? Labeling something as "romance" when this isn't supplied, cheats a lot of readers.

Janis Susan May said...

Great post! I agree wholeheartedly! The very term 'romance' should be regarded as a code word for 'HEA guaranteed.' For a writer to do less is to not play fair with the reader.

Veronica Scott said...

I MUST have my HEA, when reading romance or writing a romance story! I've been known to make up my own HEA for movies that I didn't think did a good enough job....so I'm with you all the way.

Karilyn Bentley said...

Hi Kathy,
I too have to have a HEA. Or know that the story is continuing by leaving hints that will be in the 2nd book of the series. This is why I like romances, mysteries or thrillers. Everything is tied up at the end. No pun intended. :)

Kathy Ivan said...

Thanks everybody for stopping by and listening to my mini-rant about needing my happily ever after. The day job kept me from visiting responding to each of you individually, but I really do appreciate all the support you give to the Plotting Princesses. It is truly appreciated.

Phyllis said...

I agree with everyone on this topic. I must have my HEA or strong hints that the next book promises it.

I mean who leaves a book unfinished? Well, I guess you found one Kathy. Sorry it had to go through it.

Great post. Sorry I'm just now getting to this.

Alisha said...

I need my HEA too! I feel totally ripped off without it. Great post!