Quite coincidentally, I have been reading To Weave a Web of Magic, a collection of four fantasy tales with a romantic bend (Claire Delacroix, Lynn Kurland, Patricia McKillip, and Sharon Shinn.) I highly recommend it. Three of the four tales end in the seemingly prerequisite happily ever after. One does not.
Let me backtrack just a little...
I joined the RWA (Romance Writers of America*) in 2011. I do not consider myself a romance writer, but my books always have a strong romantic element to them. Because the RWA broadened its horizons to include my sort of stories, I was able to sign up, and thus able to join a local writing group that I am very happy to be part of. There is one thing about the RWA that I don't like, and that is that it is absolutely necessary for your novel to end in happily ever after. It's right there in the definition.
I do love happily ever after. I'm a sucker for it, I have to be honest. However, I don't like it all the time. If you know how it is going to end right from the beginning, in my opinion, it gets boring no matter how many stones you throw at your lovers. I rarely let everyone in my stories live happily ever after. Some of the characters will, but some will not. And some will have happily enough.
The fourth story in To Weave a Web of Magic is Claire Delacroix's An Elegy for Melusine. It combines elements of the John Keat's poem, La Belle Dame Sans Merci and the Cupid and Psyche myth. As you can imagine, Ms. Delacroix's story doesn't end any better, and yet it was still incredibly romantic from start to finish.
|My favorite painting, La Belle Dame Sans Merci by Sir Frank Dicksee|
Romance? Or strong romantic element? Is it fair to say something isn't a romance if it doesn't end happily? What books/stories do you consider romance, even though they don't end happily? Comments are open to all spoilery! Just be warned before you read them.
*The RWA is a fantastic organization, very writer-friendly, especially friendly to unpublished writers. It is an organization of cooperation, mutual respect, and truly, a group of writers and writing professionals who work together even when they are--in fact--competing with one another.