Friday, January 20, 2012

The Perfect HEA.

The Perfect Happy Ever After.

Would this be your prefect HEA?

Or maybe this one, which is more a 'happy for now'?

Then again, your perfect ending could be far more bittersweet. Maybe one where the characters have overcome a great loss?

I’ve wondered a lot about this, as it's ever evolving. I think it's a difficult in answer in today's romance reading world. There is now far more than the "traditional HEA." We have humans, aliens, demons, vampires, shapeshifters, etc. Then there are the many sub-genres of romance that all of these fit into: contemporary, erotic, paranormal, suspense, military suspense, fantasy, m/m, historical and so on.

I see romance readers leaving comments on blogs or forums stating they "have to get their HEA". However, as I've just shown in those three short videos and examples, there are so many types of HEA. When the reader asks for such an ending are they talking about a 'traditional' happy ending? A white wedding dress, picket fence and various cute bridesmaids? Or as modern readers are they more open minded regarding an HEA? The author in me certainly hopes the latter is true.

Let's take the three films I chose above. In 'Remember Me' the traditional HEA could never have been possible. For the female lead to have found another love would have left the viewer feeling cheated, and the movie wouldn't have felt as realistic, or as gut-wrenching if Tyler had lived, allowing them the 'perfect' HEA.

With '10 Things I Hate About You' the couple are young, extremely different and have a lot to work through to become a stable couple, therefore a HFN (Happy For Now) is far more feasible than a white wedding.

'Tangled'? Well, come on, it's Disney! It's a prerequisite that they will be a traditional' HEA, isn't there?

So, as an author, when a reader asks for their HEA it's rather confusing, and somewhat like asking someone to get you a soda from the store.... hmm, which kind?

I think historical romance is more suited to the white dress, though that doesn't exclude contemporary, erotic or even paranormal novels. It's purely down to the fact that marriage was the norm then.

Personally, I don't have a favorite type of HEA, in fact, for me, there doesn't even need to be one. I just want the ending to correlate with the rest of the story I've read. A bed ending can really sink a novel.

So, your turn. What are your thoughts on Happily Ever After in a romance? Does it have to be wedding bells? Or is the promise of a committed relationship enough?

Until next time...

M. A. Stacie


  1. Wow, this was a great post!

    I love the movie Tangled, I've never seen the wedding clip. Max cracks me up. The 10 Things I hate about You, I don't believe I have ever seen that movie, and Remember Me shattered my very soul.

    I can't read books that don't have an HEA, they haunt me. I know that sounds funny. I read to escape everyday life and I want an HEA, hell I demand it in the books I read.

    HEA means different things to different people. To me it means that the main characters had their conflict resolved and was able to get past it. I don't need a wedding, babies, and a white picket fence, just redemption when needed and resolution! See I'm not that hard to please!

    This is just my opinion, I have a friend that loves reading stories riddled with conflict and angst and she feels an HEA is not necessary.

    To each his/her own. I believe their is a story for everyone!

    1. Thanks Tamaria!

      I sob for hours after watching Remember Me, and you should totally watch '10 things', it's so cute!

  2. Commitment for sure. Marriage proposal isn't a necessity.

    Great topic though. I think the HEA is important. We all know its coming so I think authors need to keep the endings unique to each book.