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Thread: Happy Endings

  1. #1
    practical experience, FTW Jan74's Avatar
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    Feb 2017

    Happy Endings

    So I keep reading that for a romance to be classified a romance there needs to be a happy ending, would Gone with the Wind be considered something other than historical romance? If a novel doesn't have a happy ending does that mean its classified as women's fiction instead?

    "You fail only if you stop writing" ~Ray Bradbury~
    "The road to hell is paved with adverbs" ~Stephen King~
    WIP Romance or Women's fiction, hopefully by the end I'll know.
    "If I waited for perfection, I would never write a word." ~Margaret Atwood~
    "There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you." ~Mary Angelou~

  2. #2
    starting over Marian Perera's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Heaven is a place on earth called Toronto.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jan74 View Post
    So I keep reading that for a romance to be classified a romance there needs to be a happy ending, would Gone with the Wind be considered something other than historical romance?
    I think of it as historical fiction. It's my favorite novel, but since it doesn't have a happy ending, it's not a romance.

    A novel that doesn't have a happy ending could be called a love story, a tragedy, historical fiction, women's fiction, contemporary fiction, what have you. As long as it's not called the one thing which tells readers, "This story has a happy ending."
    Last edited by Marian Perera; 08-12-2017 at 05:04 AM.
    Sleeping Beauty m/m retelling : 29,043 words.

  3. #3
    practical experience, FTW
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    I do consider Gone with the Wind a historical romance, mainly because so much time was devoted to the Rhett-Scarlett relationship, but remember it was published way before current definitions became established. Today you can’t call something a romance unless it has a HEA or at least a HFN (Happy For Now) ending.

    By the same token I would definitely call Wuthering Heights a romance though there is so much tragedy in it and though one of the leads, Cathy, dies halfway through the book, leaving Heathcliff devastated. Yes there is a minor romance featuring Cathy’s daughter and that gives a kind of happy ending but I never saw her lovestory as being the important one in that novel.

  4. #4
    practical experience, FTW MerriTudor's Avatar
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    Mar 2017
    I have to confess I've never read it! I was forced to watch the movie. I don't like anything to do with the Civil War - unless it's the English Civil War. The clothes were SO much better! Oh, those Cavaliers!

    I agree with crossword that at the time it was probably considered an historical romance. But if I picked it up today and read it as a romance with the expectation of a HEA (not to mention the good characters being rewarded instead of dying), I'd be contacting Amazon for a refund.

  5. #5
    practical experience, FTW
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Mind you, you CAN have a romance where the h and H split up at the end as long as its made clear there is a sequel where they get back together, a la Fifty Shades. And the sequel better not be several decades in the writing, a la Gone with the Wind. The reader needs to be able to order the sequel or at least needs to be able to sign up to a mailing list where she will be informed when the sequel is out.

  6. #6
    practical experience, FTW Lil's Avatar
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    Jan 2011
    New York
    Are you asking if you can write such a book? The answer is, Of course!
    Are you asking if you can market it aa a Romance? The answer is No way in Hell, unless you don't mind having betrayed readers tearing you into bits.
    The problem isn't the story. The problem is the way you want to market it.
    Would you write something you call a detective story that ends up with the detective throwing his hands in the air and saying,"I give up. I don't know who did it."
    Lil Marek
    You live but once. You might as well be amusing.
    óCoco Chanel


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