Don’t you already know how it ends?
Isn’t it formulaic? Boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back, they live happily after.
I’ve heard it all. But still, I love romance novels. Reading them and writing them. Today it could just as easily be boy meets boy, girl meets girl, girl meets vampire/werewolf, or girl meets alien from outer space.
Yes, to meet the definition of a romance novel it should end happily ever after or at least happy for now. Are you happily in a relationship? Are your friends? Compare notes. Did you all meet your significant other the same way? Did you all have the same baggage going into a relationship? Do you and your sweetheart argue about the same things as your friends do? Aha! Didn’t think so. Every romance is different. Every romance novel is different.
Each writer brings their baggage, their beliefs, and their idea of romantic to the story. I may think long walks on the beach are romantic and you may hate the sun, the salt air, and the sand between your toes. You may love hiking in the mountains and I may hate the pine air, the high altitude, and the idea of hiking anywhere.
*Warning! Spoiler Alert for The Princess Bride and As You Wish by Cary Elwes*
I bought As You Wish this week and consumed it in two days. I love The Princess Bride movie and it was so much fun to read his memories of making the movie.
That romantic moment at the end of the movie. That happily-ever-after moment in the film when they kissed. A kiss by which all others are compared, to quote the film. It was a wonderful kiss but it wouldn’t mean as much if you didn’t follow their story from the beginning. To see what they did to EARN that kiss. To get their HAPPILY EVER AFTER.
Like the romance novel detractors, the little boy hearing the story at the beginning gets all upset to find his grandfather is reading him a “kissing book”. LOL Haven’t we heard that one before?!!
Westley and Buttercup are our lovers, our hero and heroine. They fall in love. They are parted. She fears he is lost. She is marrying another. He returns. They are reunited. They fall back in love. They are parted when she agrees to go with the fiancé to save her true love. He is almost killed. She is forced to marry another. But he returns, he was only “mostly dead”. They are reunited. Evil is vanquished. They get that happily-ever-after. And just like that little boy at the beginning of our story now saying, “it’s okay. I don’t mind the kissing so much.” Because they EARNED it. Even he recognized that they had been through the wringer and they deserved that kiss.
That is why I read and write romance! <3 <3 <3
Jill James, writer of contemporary and paranormal romance.