Friday, April 18, 2008

They Lived Happily Ever After

There is no surprise more magical than the surprise of being loved. It is God's finger on man's shoulder. ~Charles Morgan


My blog post on Tuesday about HEA's and the length of time a H/H know each other garnered some interesting responses AND a blog post from Allie.

Mostly, folks thought it was okay and believeable that characters fall in love and want to get married after a short period of time. There were a couple of folks who didn't. Some simply didn't believe lasting love could occur in a short space, some believed that it could be the START of lasting love, but not that they'd be ready to leap into marriage.

Charity brings up the idea of a "Hopefully Ever After" -- the thought that two characters can agree to try out the whole relationship thing. That they can awknowledge their mutual attraction (to body, heart and mind, IMHO... don't want to put words in poor C's mouth) and decide to date exclusively or whatever.

The question is, though, for the typical romance reader, will a HOPEFULLY ever after be enough? Will the, "I really like you. I like everything about you. Let's give this relationship thing a whirl." ending settle comfortably with them?

Truthfully, I see more and more of those types of ending occuring in romance. They appear more frequently in series, of course, since the edge of your seat "will they or won't they" feeling keeps people reading. But I've seen them in category and single title (more often in single title) as well.

Is this where romance is headed? To end, not with a real committment but an "I'll try?". That is, after all, where the real world has gone. We live together, "try" starter marriages, etc. So, is a "hopefully ever after" realistic? Absolutely.

For, me, though... I struggle with it. "Hopefully" just doesn't feed my romantic heart... it's like eating white chocolate. Sure, it's sweet... but it isn't exactly what I craved. It'll do in a pinch, I suppose, but it always leaves me wanting more.

And, that's just my two cents, FWIW.



Dakota... my little sweetheart.

She is stubborn. She is independent. She is smart.

Eventually, she will "get" what we want her to do. And when she "gets" something, she doesn't forget. From the time she was bitty, I mad her sit to get her leash on and she always does. I taught her to not rush the door, and she doesn't. So, I know she'll learn, but-- wowza-- is she STUBBORN. But I am MORE STUBBORN, and I'm the boss. So we'll get it pounded into her hard head eventually, or die trying. LOL.

A couple years ago, my SIL gave me a bag of miscellaneous bulbs, which I planted of course. I found a few blooming yesterday--does anyone know what these flowers are?

Or these:

It's just that they are lovely and bloom early and I'd love to find some more!


You Should Drive a Green Car

You're the type of driver who sees driving as a necessary evil.

You much rather be biking or taking a pleasant walk to where you're going.

And because of this, you tend to be a "green driver" - as best as you can.

Whether this means driving a hybrid, supporting alternative fuels, or simply not littering out your window.

That is SO NOT ME. I love to drive. If I didn't have a husband who worried, I'd be taking cross-country road trips all the time!


Ceri said...

What an excellent post! Personally I want the Happily Ever After. The book doesn't have to end with a marriage proposal but it has to end with a committment leading toward marriage, so the reader has no doubts that the h & H are so in love that there's no other conclusion but marriage. In my writing I'm trying to include the actual wedding at the end, but I'll settle for a proposal.

SPRING IS HERE!!!! Feels like summer!

Dena said...

I also want the HEA, I hate when it's up in the air, especially when it's a really good book because then I will think about it a lot wondering what happened to the characters. I like things resolved and settled.

Pink car,lol.

Mel said...

I do prefer Happily EA, but with the right characters I'll settle for Hopefully EA. I preach that I'd rather have an ending befitting the characters than one that makes the readers happy.

Also, I've shared my .02 cents on my blog:

I loved to know what you think Marianne.

Dena said...

I forgot to post..the book I'm reading right now the couple fell for each other after THREE days. They had attraction and lust at first glance and have figured there in love but haven't spoken it out loud yet but I give it another 2 days tops.

I'm not much of a gardener, could they be Bluebonnets?

Diane Craver said...

They don't have to get married at the end but definitely like to know they are going that direction. Unless it is a series, of course.

My car is black and description doesn't fit me - I think what happened is my choice of vehicle wasn't listed. (mini van - I miss my van)

jean said...

Wow, Marianne, what a great post! Lots to think about. Firstly, your Dakota looks like a sweetie. She reminds me of my Lucille. It takes Lucy awhile to "get it" but no dog ever tried harder to please.
I had trouble seeing the picture clearly, but they might possibly be blue campanella, though its a bit early in the season. (I could be wrong :-))
As for HEA... as you may or may not know, I struggle. My characters don't always get there, but I do think my stories leave people feeling satisfied. That's what matters most to me in a story.

Anonymous said...

Let’s see if I can explain. I think a good happy ending is possibly more difficult to write than say a tragic ending, or an open ending. I find the insistence, in some cases, that a romance *must* end in proposal/marriage/epilogue with the white picket fence, four kids, and the dog, etc. stifling.

It’s stifling for the writer and for the genre. It’s not the happy ending I object to. It’s always seeing the same exact thing (yeah, I know talented writer = innovative way to show this). However, in a fair amount of romance fiction, you could swap out the various wedding/epilogue endings between books and no one would notice (I kid, sort of).

I simply don’t need to see the formal proposal and all the rest to believe in the HEA, not if the author has done her job. I want to be left with that one breathless, joyous moment at the end of the story. And no, that might not be the proposal/wedding.

Marianne’s Now That We’ve Found You is an excellent example of what I mean. She’s written one of my all time favorite endings in that. I don’t need anything beyond that excellent last sentence.

Don’t give me the proposal/marriage because you must. Give me the moment that makes me believe that, for these characters, the HEA is real.


Amy Addison said...

Hopefully ever after doesn't do it for me, which is why I was never a big fan of Chick Lit. I want the HEA, every time.

Dru said...

I like the notion of reading a HEA and knowing by the end there will be a promise of togetherness once I close the book.

You Should Drive a Green Car

You're the type of driver who sees driving as a necessary evil.

You much rather be biking or taking a pleasant walk to where you're going.

And because of this, you tend to be a "green driver" - as best as you can.

Whether this means driving a hybrid, supporting alternative fuels, or simply not littering out your window.

Yes, this is me..I'm glad I don't have or need to drive.

Have a good Friday.

groovyoldlady said...

You Should Drive a Silver Car

You're the type of driver who doesn't really pay attention to other cars on the road.
You are calm, focused, and clear headed. Driving is simply a task for you.
And you aren't one to be too fussy about what you drive.
Basing your status on a car is a little beneath you.

I hate silver cars, but the rest is true.

i prefer happily ever after, with commitment, it's just that I find it more believable when set in a longer time frame.

Danielle Marie Peck said...

I read a Cata Romance not too long ago- I can't remember the title but overall the story was good, however the ending left me feeling like the story was unfinished. The last sentence in the story was exactly, "Let's give this thing a shot." They were agreeing to see where their relationship led them.

I prefer the happily ever after endings because it feels better and it makes the story seem like it's come to a logical conculsion, it's finished.

P.S. I hope you don't mind but I'm going to spotlight your blog over at Jane Porter's website. Go to the Topic entitled The Write Blog to find the thread dedicated to your blog :)It should be up and running by about 9:30 am

Tori Lennox said...

I prefer Happily Ever After, too.

You Should Drive a Pink Car

You're the type of driver who really loves your car.
You can make a car last for ages - or take good care of a vintage ride.
You're independent, creative, and very expressive.
You consider your car a part of you ... and you want to make it as funky as possible.

Well, you know how I love pink. *g* I could really go for a vintage car for road trips. Yeah, I know they'd gas guzzlers but since I don't drive anymore the point is rather moot. :)

anno said...

I like endings that make sense out of the rest of the story. Sometimes it's the joyous HEA and sometimes it's something a bit more wistful. The point is, it works with the rest of the material, and doesn't feel contrived or manipulated.

I should drive a green car, too. Given that I'd rather not drive at all, this fits pretty well.

Brandy said...

I was a blue car but forgot to save and post it. Oops!
If a book doesn't have a HEA, I won't like it. I want the promise of "forever", not a "hopefully".

I hope you have a great Friday.

Um, are those flowers crocus, maybe?

Melissa said...

A hopefully ever after wouldn't work for me at all. I'd probably never read that author again since I didn't get the payoff I need.

Having the h/h live together to try it out is as bad. A wall-banger and on my no longer buy list.

Chris M. said...

I like, no let me rephrase... I NEED a Happily Ever After, which is why I work for you! LOL. I think the need for it is that we read for the fantasy of "what if" of "I wish", and that doesn't always relate to everyday life. I'm sorry, I don't read romance for the strict reality of it. There, I've dropped my two cents.

You Should Drive a Red Car

You're the type of driver who isn't afraid to be the fastest on the road.
You have a lot of energy built up, and you tend to get your adrenaline fix from driving.
Moving at hyper speed, you tend to be annoyed with slow drivers and slow people.
Life's too short to be slowed down by someone else!

Wow, how accurate is that? But, I only get to drive that way when the monkeys aren't in the vehicle with me. I actually drive DHs car which is a little red sports car when I go out by myself. *sigh* That doesn't happen very often though! Loved this post.