Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Can I Help it if I Have a Thing for Space Cowboys?

I’m not going to say anything profound here. I think everyone knows the industry is evolving. But I’m taking a stand. Genres suck. Like a hungry vampire on True Blood. *Shout out to sexy Eric* Isn’t he dreamy? Off topic…

I don’t like genres. This is why… I read a paranormal romance last weekend and the couple didn’t end up together! *Gasp* I know! Can I feel some outrage from the devoted paranormal peeps? I was devastated. It was a long book, too. It wasn’t always enjoyable, and I held out until the end. And then bam… I was shot in my romance-reading heart. No happy ending…

I know what the naysayers will argue. “Not every book has to have a happy ending.” I completely agree! But Romances should have a happy ending. That’s why I read them. What’s the point in reading something that doesn’t end with the hero and heroine in each other’s arms (preferably with an unplanned pregnancy they are both thrilled about)? The millions of people who read other genres will tell you. But that’s the whole point. If you don’t want to write a happy ending, there are genres willing to embrace you.

I appreciate other genres. I read all kinds of things. But I wonder if it’s too much to ask Romance writers to write happy endings? I understand some people want to write different stuff. I support that. I encourage it. But can there just be Paranormal? And if either the hero or heroine dies can it be called Paranormal Drama? So I know not to read it if I’m in the mood for happy.

I guess that’s my biggest complaint in all this. Last weekend I wanted to read a feel good book. Not a heartbreaking or heart wrenching one. Just a happy book. And I read three and they weren’t good. Not because they were bad, but because I wanted to read something happy! Not ending up together isn’t full of glee. In this case it gave me a serious case of pissed off.

It reminds me of my college experience. I wrote a short fiction piece and I had the hero and heroine end up together. My professor wrote that it was too predictable. So I ended up having the heroine wander off into the distance (Yes, I mean that literally… if I remember correctly there was fog and she disappears), which meant there was very little resolution. And looking back on it now I question what the point of the story was. This is probably a bad example because it was a horrible story, but my professor pushed me to do something different. Maybe some of us aren’t built for different. And thank goodness.

I watched a Christmas movie this weekend and it made me bawl. The Ultimate Gift. It’s the best Christmas movie I’ve ever seen! If you don’t have a thing for Drew Fuller, you should. I wouldn’t call it a Romance really. So it’s not as though I can’t take non-romances. I just want to know what to expect when I pick up a book. All I’d like is a disclaimer: This author does not write happy endings. Some people will say “Finally!” and pick it up. Others won’t. But the people who won’t pick it up aren’t going to be won over. There’s no point in tricking these readers into buying it. I’m never going to like a Romance without a happy ending.

To me, love is too realistic. We see it start and end every day. I get depressed enough that no one in Hollywood can keep a marriage together and then I get taunted by it in line at the grocery store. I’m a hopeless romantic.

So what does this post have to do with the title of this blog? It relates back to genres. If the genre was Romance I’d read paranormal, fantasy, horror, YA, suspense, historical or a tale of two space cowboys. It doesn’t matter to me. Just give me a compelling tale about two hearts that meld as one. Is that too much to ask?

What do you think about genre? Are you villagers with burning torches, or do you see where I’m going with this?


  1. This is a timely topic for me, because I'm being snarked at over at my publisher's website because I dared include some romantic fantasies in my list of December fantasy releases. I hate genre distinctions! That being said, if something is billed as a romance, it needs to have a happy ending. It's not always the ending I want--I'm still grousing at JR Ward (and I know she's broken-hearted) at the way Vishous and Jane found their happy ending in Lover Unbound. But at least they did end up together. Like you, I'd feel let down if I read a long book billed as romance and the couple didn't at least (to use RWA's definition) end with the probability of an HEA. Good topic!d

  2. A book labeled as a romance should have a HEA ending, IMHO. Fans of romance novels expect a happy ending. I'm all for a fresh take on the happy part, so long as the H/H end up together.

  3. I'm in the minority, not a real have to have the HEA thing. Maybe there needs to be a genre for romantic, but not necessarily romance?

    My big pet peeve is how the HEA is marriage and then you never hear anything about them again. I, love and all the struggles to get together do continue and can be fodder for more stories!

  4. Wish I had a better memory but a few years ago a RITA nominee won in its particular category and the couple did not end up together.

    I think you hit the nail on the head with 'compelling tale'. That's what makes me continue to read the romance genre!

  5. Thanks Suzanne. It's a relevant topic for me too, since I'm trying to sell a fantasy romance. It's really tough to break in. I'm going paranormal romance for my next project. And I feel you on the Brotherhood. Love the series, but I've had my frustrations, as well.

    I think that's exactly right, Jena! I love a fresh take on happy, but I still want them to end up together.

    I agree Maureen. I like a story that's beyond just the "We're getting married! Yeah!" That's why I love series because you can see the couple beyond the HEA. I'm having a lot of fun with my current series about a group of sisters because I have problems for my Book 1 hero and heroine planned for later books. Since all the character's are so close, it's been a great experience, when I'm not pulling out my hair.

    Hi Darcy. The compelling tale is the most important part. I just wish that when I felt like reading a romance, I could count on the fact they end up together. Or it was advertised as being unique.

  6. I agree that if it's marked as Romance, it NEEDS to have a HEA. I don't want to read a Romance where the hero and heroine don't get together. If they don't get together and there isn't an HEA, then it's NOT a Romance. It might be a love story, but those are different than romances.

  7. Great point, Sarah! And there isn't anything wrong with a great love story. Just tell me beforehand so I'm not so upset about the ending that I can't appreciate the rest of the book.