Away from Romancelandia…

…and there’s another HEA discussion that I missed. Damn!

Or not, because my opinion hasn’t changed.

I very much agree with Robin, that if the definition of a romance novel didn’t include the HEA part, then readers wouldn’t get dissatisfied with non-HEA endings in romances.

Because this is all about expectations: if you expect something and you don’t get it, you’ll be disappointed.

I do think the HEA requirement is restrictive. As long as it stands, I won’t ever write something that will be published as a romance–I try to convince myself it’s purely on principle because I think the HEA requirement is unutterably wrong though it might, just might, be because I’m still rebelling against laws and stuff like that.

But, I’m a little older, and I’d like to think a little more mature and wise than I was the last time I touched on this, so I’ll add this: readers have as much say as writers do in defining a genre, and if so many readers think that the HEA is such an important part of romance to them, then maybe it should be there.

Doesn’t mean I think it should be there though. 😉

5 Responses to “Away from Romancelandia…”

  1. September 21, 2007 at 12:37 am

    Ditto. Which kinda sucks since I write romantic fantasy, but at least in fantasy you can bend the rules a little more.

  2. September 21, 2007 at 4:36 pm

    So not all readers are going to be alike. I’ve noticed I’m more forgiving as a writer than as a reader. As I writer I like to think the HEA is bendable. As a reader I give no quarter.

  3. 3 blackromancereader
    September 22, 2007 at 10:25 am

    I don’t see the big deal with the HEA. In any genre–and even in TV and movies–people want the couple presented as romantic interests to end up together. It isn’t readers that say romance novel=HEA only, it’s romance readers. The mainstream sees anything with strong romantic elements as “romance”–hence why movies like Titanic and City of Angel and books written by Nicholas Sparks and Danielle Steele are considered “romances” by the general populace. Even back when heroines went through men like water in the 70s and 80s, they still ended up with one man, so all this talk of the HEA being too restrictive is BS.

    If “you” don’t want the HEA(meaning, a couple has committed themselves at the end of the novel for is assumed to be for life) in your reading and writing, don’t read or write within the romance genre. Read books that are considered “love stories” or have a strong romantic element but don’t fall into the genre. Or, if you’re not finding books that suit your desires, write them.

    Just don’t gripe and complain about a genre rule, practically the only rule set in stone for the romance genre (same way a crime must be solved and the villain apprehended in a mystery or suspense novel, or the arch-nemesis is defeated in a comic book).

  4. 4 Robin
    September 24, 2007 at 7:44 pm

    If “you” don’t want the HEA(meaning, a couple has committed themselves at the end of the novel for is assumed to be for life) in your reading and writing, don’t read or write within the romance genre.

    But Angela, even the RWA — hardly a revolutionary organization — doesn’t spell out or require a HEA ending. THAT’s what I don’t get — all this insistence that it’s definitive, when none of the definitions I’ve read call for it. Reader expectation, perhaps, but even that evolves over time, and has, I think we can all agree, turned in some very strange and not so wonderful directions over time.

  5. 5 romblogreader
    October 1, 2007 at 12:54 am

    I’m not going to argue whether the requirement is or isn’t a good thing, but I do have to point Robin toward this definition. Whether “optimistic and emotionally satisfying ending” exactly equal Happily Ever After could be debated, I guess, but I’m pretty sure the second part of their definition is referring to a slightly more inclusive version of “HEA”.

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