A common question that romance authors and readers are asked is how can you keep writing/reading romances when you know how the story is going to end? A romance story requires a Happily Ever After or Happily For Now ending to belong to the genre. Readers need to know everything is going to work out when they pick up a romance. This is why Romeo and Juliet is considered a romantic tragedy, instead of a romance. There is no Happily Ever After in Shakespeare’s play, commonly abbreviated as HEA.

From my reading, I realize there are two basic types of stories: What and How. The What story, which focuses on what happens next to keep the reader turning the pages, and the How story, which reveals how the foreknown ending occurred to keep the reader glued to the pages. Neither type of story is better than the other. Readers are capable of enjoying both, depending upon their moods, and what they prefer at that moment.

The What type of story focuses more on the external plot. These type of stories are usually mysteries, or thrillers, or some other kind of action-oriented story. Movies like the What story type because the external plot is easier to show visually. It’s one of the reasons why romance novels aren’t often translated to the screen.

How stories look more at the internal plot and explore why the character changes within. A good romance shows how the hero/heroine must be transformed inside in order to be able to love. There is something within the protagonist that prevents him from loving. Until he conquers that flaw, he cannot fully love the other. Interior changes are harder to show visually, but they can be described with words that resonate within the reader. People love to see others rise above their faults, which is why the romance genre has the biggest book sales numbers.

There are many ways to divide the book market, by literary or commercial, by genre, by age, and now another division, by question asked.

Advertisements