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If I am reading a romance, and I don't get a happy ending, I feel cheated because I think it is expected that most romances end more like Cinderella than Romeo and Juliet.  I admire those who can write tragedies, and I understand why they are important, but as a person who likes escapism when I read, I do tend to avoid them.  I do like ambiguous endings, where it can go either way.      

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3 minutes ago, CassieQ said:

If I am reading a romance, and I don't get a happy ending, I feel cheated because I think it is expected that most romances end more like Cinderella than Romeo and Juliet.  I admire those who can write tragedies, and I understand why they are important, but as a person who likes escapism when I read, I do tend to avoid them.  I do like ambiguous endings, where it can go either way.      

 

I feel the same way when I read romance stories.  It sort of like a promise to the reader by the author that there will be a happy ending if the story is driven mostly by the romance between the characters.  Romance stories are very much escapism for me as well, and I like the term "ambiguous endings".  It is what I am thinking about when it comes to conclusions that do not answer all of the questions and makes the readers interpret what happened at the end.

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10 minutes ago, BlindAmbition said:

I prefer gritty, raw and honest writing. Not against HEA. They just turn me off sometimes. I’m not all bubbles and saccharine. I’m more serious and reading habits follow.

I agree with your professor and his theory. Some people escape in an HEA. I prefer to get lost in music, or a good fantasy novel to really escape.

 

Thank you for providing your differing perspective on this topic, including the words you used to describe non-happy endings.  And I also like escaping in music, especially since I create music videos in my head that feature the characters in my stories.  Am I the only one LOL

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7 minutes ago, Superpride said:

 

Thank you for providing your differing perspective on this topic, including the words you used to describe non-happy endings.  And I also like escaping in music, especially since I create music videos in my head that feature the characters in my stories.  Am I the only one LOL

I can promise you are not the only one to create music videos in your head featuring the characters in your stories, I do the same.  :lol:  

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33 minutes ago, BlindAmbition said:

I prefer gritty, raw and honest writing. Not against HEA. They just turn me off sometimes. I’m not all bubbles and saccharine. I’m more serious and reading habits follow.

I agree with your professor and his theory. Some people escape in an HEA. I prefer to get lost in music, or a good fantasy novel to really escape.

I tend to write happier endings, mainly because I feel bad for some of the things I put my characters through.  I recall when I almost ended a story on a sad note and a few of my readers flipped out, so I try not to do that anymore.  :P  

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This is a very interesting topic.

 

I don't need a happy ending when I'm reading a story and the same applies to movies but you may struggle to find a movie nowadays without one. I know that Hollywood insists on happy endings, even adding them to real life stories that you think couldn't possibly have a happy ending. 'Titanic' springs to mind here, when Jack and Rose are re-united at the end in some weird after-life, where presumably they live happy-ever-after. I always thought that ending was weird until I realized why. I would have preferred it without the bit of fairy tale at the end, because it wasn't believable and the same applies when I'm reading a story. For me, it needs to be believable and not all stories can have happy endings.

 

Sometimes I enoy a tragedy but I think I'm in the minority. If you want to write a popular story you won't go far wrong by sticking to the Hollywood formula. They know how to entertain people, just stay clear of any Jack and Rose type moments at the end.

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10 minutes ago, Dodger said:

This is a very interesting topic.

 

I don't need a happy ending when I'm reading a story and the same applies to movies but you may struggle to find a movie nowadays without one. I know that Hollywood insists on happy endings, even adding them to real life stories that you think couldn't possibly have a happy ending. 'Titanic' springs to mind here, when Jack and Rose are re-united at the end in some weird after-life, where presumably they live happy-ever-after. I always thought that ending was weird until I realized why. I would have preferred it without the bit of fairy tale at the end, because it wasn't believable and the same applies when I'm reading a story. For me, it needs to be believable and not all stories can have happy endings.

 

Sometimes I enoy a tragedy but I think I'm in the minority. If you want to write a popular story you won't go far wrong by sticking to the Hollywood formula. They know how to entertain people, just stay clear of any Jack and Rose type moments at the end.

Yeah, the end of Titanic was really unnecessary and weird.  

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4 minutes ago, CassieQ said:

I tend to write happier endings, mainly because I feel bad for some of the things I put my characters through.  I recall when I almost ended a story on a sad note and a few of my readers flipped out, so I try not to do that anymore.  :P  

Your stories do have realism. Consequences and honest, sometimes dark themes. They aren’t I want Johnny, Johnny likes me, I got Johnny, Johnny loves me...I’m shooting rainbows and glitter. My life is so GREAT... YAY!

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HEA in fiction, especially romance does not mean there can be no tragedy, heartache or loss of primary characters along the way, but that the overall ending is satisfactory to at least one of the prime characters....

 

Superpride mentioned the news as being depressing enough and that is true, but in reality, there are many more good people quietly going about doing good, productive things with their life than there are psychopaths or someone who suffers a meltdown.  Good news isn't usually news.  So I try to accentuate the positive, but don't underestimate or ignore the negative.

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6 minutes ago, Dodger said:

This is a very interesting topic.

 

I don't need a happy ending when I'm reading a story and the same applies to movies but you may struggle to find a movie nowadays without one. I know that Hollywood insists on happy endings, even adding them to real life stories that you think couldn't possibly have a happy ending. 'Titanic' springs to mind here, when Jack and Rose are re-united at the end in some weird after-life, where presumably they live happy-ever-after. I always thought that ending was weird until I realized why. I would have preferred it without the bit of fairy tale at the end, because it wasn't believable and the same applies when I'm reading a story. For me, it needs to be believable and not all stories can have happy endings.

 

Sometimes I enoy a tragedy but I think I'm in the minority. If you want to write a popular story you won't go far wrong by sticking to the Hollywood formula. They know how to entertain people, just stay clear of any Jack and Rose type moments at the end.

 

Your statement on Hollywood makes me wonder how much of an influence this industry has on the idea of happy endings in American culture.  It must be significant since Hollywood is a huge influence in America overall.  I wonder if Bollywood is any different in the way the industry treats happy endings in their movies.  And I agree with you on the ending of Titanic, especially since the movie was inspired by the true event of the real Titanic.  I also find it funny since I'm currently writing a series that is all about fairy tales, but with a more modern, grittier twist that deviates from the classical Disney movies that we all grew up with as children, and Disney is all about those happy endings LOL.  In addition, I sometimes forget how a happy ending is more well-received and makes the story more likely to be enjoyed, which I unconsciously consider as I write.

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1 minute ago, Superpride said:

 

Your statement on Hollywood makes me wonder how much of an influence this industry has on the idea of happy endings in American culture.  It must be significant since Hollywood is a huge influence in America overall.  I wonder if Bollywood is any different in the way the industry treats happy endings in their movies.  And I agree with you on the ending of Titanic, especially since the movie was inspired by the true event of the real Titanic.  I also find it funny since I'm currently writing a series that is all about fairy tales, but with a more modern, grittier twist that deviates from the classical Disney movies that we all grew up with as children, and Disney is all about those happy endings LOL.  In addition, I sometimes forget how a happy ending is more well-received and makes the story more likely to be enjoyed, which I unconsciously consider as I write.

That's an interesting point.  Aren't a lot of Disney movies much friendlier, happier versions of the much darker Grimm's fairty tales?  

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6 minutes ago, Daddydavek said:

HEA in fiction, especially romance does not mean there can be no tragedy, heartache or loss of primary characters along the way, but that the overall ending is satisfactory to at least one of the prime characters....

 

Superpride mentioned the news as being depressing enough and that is true, but in reality, there are many more good people quietly going about doing good, productive things with their life than there are psychopaths or someone who suffers a meltdown.  Good news isn't usually news.  So I try to accentuate the positive, but don't underestimate or ignore the negative.

 

You're definitely right about how good news is not really news and it does not get mentioned as often, especially since it does not rack up the rating versus a tragic story.

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4 minutes ago, CassieQ said:

That's an interesting point.  Aren't a lot of Disney movies much friendlier, happier versions of the much darker Grimm's fairty tales?  

Disney isn’t all lovey dovey either. They traumatized me at 4 when they feckin killed Bambi’s mother.

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2 minutes ago, CassieQ said:

That's an interesting point.  Aren't a lot of Disney movies much friendlier, happier versions of the much darker Grimm's fairty tales?  

 

Oh, most definitely!  And not just the Brothers Grimm, but also Hans Christian Andersen, specifically the story he written called "The Little Mermaid."  The main character does not marry the prince, but instead he marries the sea witch before the main character turns into foam.  That's very different from the Disney version, isn't it?

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2 minutes ago, Superpride said:

 

Oh, most definitely!  And not just the Brothers Grimm, but also Hans Christian Andersen, specifically the story he written called "The Little Mermaid."  The main character does not marry the prince, but instead he marries the sea witch before the main character turns into foam.  That's very different from the Disney version, isn't it?

The Disney version of The Little Mermaid was one of my favorites growing up.  I remember my mom visiting one of her friends and they had a copy of The Little Mermaid and I asked if i could watch it, expecting the Disney version.  It was definitely not.  Depressed me for the rest of the day.  

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At least Pixar changes the formula a little with very sad situations like the beginning of Up, and it makes you really care about and understand the main character who seems to be just a grumpy, elderly man to everyone else in the movie.

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5 minutes ago, CassieQ said:

The Disney version of The Little Mermaid was one of my favorites growing up.  I remember my mom visiting one of her friends and they had a copy of The Little Mermaid and I asked if i could watch it, expecting the Disney version.  It was definitely not.  Depressed me for the rest of the day.  

 

Same thing happened to me when I took a bite of a raw carrot, thinking it would taste like a potato chip since that was the way Bugs Bunny ate it LOL

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Happy endings are great! 

They aren't always necessary though, and I think that there can be some questionable happy endings (like happy for now?). In an HFN how do you know that there really is a happy ending? What is there to say that they didn't die, split up, or whatever? I think you're right to say happy endings make you feel like you're not facing reality, or that it's you in their shoes. In reality is there really a happy ending when we all die? That's the ultimate scariest thing to face in life, but in a book, the ending of a character's story is an eternity of happiness, not the inevitable death we all face. In Greek mythology dying was a happy ending in some ways, at least for those who would reach the Elysian fields. Life was hard earned in that time period and to die was to find eternal happiness in paradise. So in essence that was their happy ending, albeit tragically procured.  

 

Sorry for any typos... 

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I'm definitely behind happy endings for the protagonists, but happily ever afters tend to leave a sour taste in my mouth. When everything works out and the sweet protagonist gets to be happy without really developing or learning something, it just irritates me ^_^ I like a grittier, harsher ending - if the protagonist is happy, that's great, but I don't want them to have everything they ever dreamed of etc. I want life to kick them in the teeth and have them find a way to be happy regardless. Bleh, me bad articulation. 🤐 I guess I just prefer tenacity over everything turning out well in the end. 

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19 hours ago, CassieQ said:

I like hearing everyone's replies on this topic.  I wrote two stories that had decidedly unhappy endings, and in both cases the outcry from the readers was so strong that I ended up doubting myself and either writing another part or a sequel.  

Oh no!! When I kill a character off I always find a cat to pet while laughing maniacally 🤪 

Unless it’s Seth...😢

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If I wanted dark and gritty, I'll just walk out to the front room, and pay attention to Real Life. Seeing as most Romance, and Family Drama stories are the ones that end with an H.E.A. that is what I want. I did write a Love Story where the lovers were killed at the end. I got some pushback for that.

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