Sci-fi romance: Are HEA ending necessary?

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lyann88

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I'm writing a book and I'm envisioning having it part of a series. I'm considering not completely resolving the love triangles in the first book of the series. Can I complete the romance arc between the main character and her love interest only in future books in the series? Can it still be considered Sci-fi romance or may I risk to pist off the readers who expect HEA? Side note, is it just me or has sci-fi romance novel frequently involve a male alien? Mine doesn't have and is more cyberpunk. Is there such a thing as cyberpunk romance?
 
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lizmonster

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If the book doesn't end with an HEA/HFN, it's not a romance, SF or otherwise. You will very much piss off readers if you label it a romance and don't have the couple together at the end of the book, even if that book is one of a longer a series.

Marketing-wise, cyberpunk is SF, so I wouldn't worry about that aspect.
 

lizmonster

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Happily Ever After/Happy For Now.

In order for a book to be classified as a romance, it must end with one of those - traditionally HEA, but AFAIK HFN is also acceptable.
 

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What lizmonster said for a romance. An optimistic, happy ending is something romance readers expect when they pick up a book tagged as a romance, including a SF or fantasy romance.

There are plenty of SF and fantasy novels with romance subplots, with and without happily ever after type endings, that are not romances. Another requirement of a genre romance is the love story be at the center at the plot.
 

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Romance has genre conventions, just like any other genre. You catch the baddie in crime fiction. You solve the mystery. Romances have happy endings.

Another requirement of a genre romance is the love story be at the center at the plot.

That. If you remove the romance and still have a perfectly-functioning plot, then it's not a romance.
 

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I'm currently describing it as a sexy cyberpunk novel. The plot is all about seduction, manipulation and suspense. There is a romance subplot but the arc is not completed in the first book of the series. I wrote 185 pages and I'm already at 4 scenes with sexual content, some can be detailed but none have weird fetishes. I am starting to wonder if I writing more of an erotic novel than a romance novel...
 
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Maryn

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Get the password from AW Admin and we'll see you at the Erotica forum, then?

Maryn, who'll clean before you get there
 

frimble3

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I'd say definitely not a 'Romance' novel, then.
But, I'll bet there are buyers for 'sexy, er, erotic, cyberpunk'. And, that way, fewer expectations from the readers as to HEA. And you can make the series as long as you need, without worrying about how the romance is progressing.
 

TheListener

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I'm writing a book and I'm envisioning having it part of a series. I'm considering not completely resolving the love triangles in the first book of the series. Can I complete the romance arc between the main character and her love interest only in future books in the series? Can it still be considered Sci-fi romance or may I risk to pist off the readers who expect HEA? Side note, is it just me or has sci-fi romance novel frequently involve a male alien? Mine doesn't have and is more cyberpunk. Is there such a thing as cyberpunk romance?
I'm writing a book and I'm envisioning having it part of a series. I'm considering not completely resolving the love triangles in the first book of the series. Can I complete the romance arc between the main character and her love interest only in future books in the series? Can it still be considered Sci-fi romance or may I risk to pist off the readers who expect HEA? Side note, is it just me or has sci-fi romance novel frequently involve a male alien? Mine doesn't have and is more cyberpunk. Is there such a thing as cyberpunk romance?
If you are writing a series in which both characters will be together to the end of them, then you don't need a HEA in each book. You need a fabulous cliffhanger that will make the readers want to buy the rest of the books in the series. You must, though, have that HEA in the very last book or it can't be called true romance, just a book with romance in it.
 

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If you are writing a series in which both characters will be together to the end of them, then you don't need a HEA in each book. You need a fabulous cliffhanger that will make the readers want to buy the rest of the books in the series. You must, though, have that HEA in the very last book or it can't be called true romance, just a book with romance in it.
Do this at your peril. Romance readers are not a silent group when disappointed, and they WILL be disappointed. There is a subset of self-published Romance that uses the cliffhanger to sell a series, but more often than not, reviewers express annoyance.
It would be well to warn readers that the book ends with a cliffhanger. Many who are surprised by a cliffhanger rather than an ending get out their DNB lists.
Yes, this. If you market it to me as a Romance and it surprise-ends on a cliffhanger, you've violated my trust. I'm not going to give you any more of my money and let you fool me twice.

Not every book with a romance subplot is a Romance, and that's fine. A lot of readers like some romantic elements in their thrillers and SF and mysteries and commercial fiction. And high-heat cyberpunk sounds like an excellent pairing. Just don't try to fool your audience. It's not worth the grief.
 

dickson

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I'm currently describing it as a sexy cyberpunk novel. The plot is all about seduction, manipulation and suspense. There is a romance subplot but the arc is not completed in the first book of the series. I wrote 185 pages and I'm already at 4 scenes with sexual content, some can be detailed but none have weird fetishes. I am starting to wonder if I writing more of an erotic novel than a romance novel...
This is beginning to sound interesting.
 

lizmonster

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Do this at your peril. Romance readers are not a silent group when disappointed, and they WILL be disappointed. There is a subset of self-published Romance that uses the cliffhanger to sell a series, but more often than not, reviewers express annoyance.

+1000.

This is not a joke. As with every genre, Romance has rules that, if broken, render the book no longer Romance. And readers will remember.

Not every book with a romance subplot is a Romance, and that's fine.

Also +1000. And if your response to this is any version of "Yeah, but," you have not written a romance and you should not market it as such.
 

frimble3

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So... what do you label it if it's a romance but one of the main characters dies???
It's either a tragedy, a drama, or a turning point in the survivor's life. Possibly a comedy. But not a romance.

If you want it to be a romance, give it a 'HFN' ending , and have the character die shortly after the book ends.
 

Brightdreamer

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So... what do you label it if it's a romance but one of the main characters dies?
As others have said, that's not a romance. It may have romantic elements, but it's not really a romance.

Unless, of course, you're writing paranormal/fantastic/specfic romance, where "death" is not the end: a world of ghosts, resurrection, reincarnation, artificial afterlife, etc. Having mortal death not be the end of Eternal True Love is a time-honored romantic trope - but that only works if you establish this as a possibility in your story's world prior to the death. Indeed, the last book I read - Under the Whispering Door, by TJ Klune - takes place almost entirely after the MC dies, where he is a ghost lingering between the mortal world and What Comes After and only then crosses paths with his true love; their romance only happens after the MC is technically dead. But the book's entire premise is what happens when ghosts transition.
 
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frimble3

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You said you had several triangles? What if the MCs don't get a HEA, but some prominent other triangle does? Don't label it as a 'Romance', but more as 'life does on'?
And, if it's 'cyber-punk', could the deceased not be downloaded in some way? Even just as data, so that the lovers could still talk? Or hear each other's voices?
I mean we can do that now.
 

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