Monday, May 5, 2014

Can We Deny the HEA?

Please join me in welcoming Terri Rochenski to Muse Monday. Read to the end and enter her drawing!

The single most important thing to do when writing romance.
Be predictable.
Wait. Hear me out before you react…your readers want the HEA.
After reading Love’s Sorrow, my editor gave her thoughts on what she expects book #2 might hold. I was horrified when she guessed almost exactly what takes place.
I’m that predictable?!? I wailed while reading her email.
I want to throw wrenches in and surprise my readers, giving them that, “Oh no you didn’t!” moments that make putting a book down near impossible. I replied to my editor with those words, and here’s what she had to say:
“…in a way, readers want a sense of predictability. If you take the story in a way they hadn't predicted, or hoped for, you risk alienating them.'s really about the spin (the clothes) you put on the story structure (the body) that will make the next instalment memorable and epic. Your first instinct is usually right.”
Honestly, I had never considered such a thing. As a lover of romance books myself, I have to have my HEA, and I normally can figure out how the author will take us there. This, however, was the first time I had someone know what transpires before reading my own work.
Will I keep my story as planned? Of course I will. In order for Anne’s story to come full circle—to complete the character arcs within its pages—I need those events to transpire. They are in there for a reason. Sure, I can throw in surprises here and there, get the readers’ blood pumping, but when it comes to the ending, predictability is key.
To change the ending would leave loose strings. Unresolved issues.
Romance readers won’t stand for such a thing. They (I!!!) want that HEA. We can’t deny them, now can we?
Do you think happily ever after endings are cliché? Do YOU mind a Romeo and Juliette ending?

Love’s Sorrow (Means of Mercy #1)

Hired as a nanny for her cousin’s children, Anne Tearle finds security and a loving family. The children are a dream, but London society is a world of its own, one where a displaced farm girl has no business being. But, wealthy rake, Gavin MacKay, helps her to see associating with the upper class might not be as horrid as she first assumed.

Like all things worthwhile, love comes at a price, and the cost soon bestows more anguish than joy. Lost, but not undone, Anne must find the courage to begin life anew, or succumb to sorrow's unrelenting waves of grief.

Purchase Links
Terri started writing stories in the 8th grade, when a little gnome whispered in her brain. Gundi’s Great Adventure never hit the best seller list, but it started a long love affair with storytelling.
Today she enjoys an escape to Middle Earth during the rare ‘me’ moments her three young children allow. When not playing toys, picking them back up, or kissing boo-boos, she can be found sprawled on the couch with a book or pencil in hand, and toothpicks propping her eyelids open.
Ms. Rochenski’s Links:
Link for Love’s Sorrow on Goodreads:


a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. That "predictable" label does make us draw back a little, doesn't it, maybe even get offended, but you're right. It's necessary in the genre. And I'll vote No on the Romeo and Juliet ending. I'll take the predictable HEA every time--it gives readers joy in their days.

    1. But what I forgot to mention, Liz, is that Love's Sorrow DOESN'T have the HEA. Anne's story doesn't come full circle until Love's Revenge ends. Out this November. *wink*

      Thanks for taking the time to swing by & comment!

  2. Thanks so much for hosting me today!!

  3. I would feel cheated with the Romeo and Juliet ending. Shame on Shakespeare for that one.

    I much prefer HEA. That sense of peace and love and everything is going to be alright. I think that what people need when they reach for a romance and as writers that what we struggle to give them.

    Good luck with your release and I wish you many sales.


    1. An HEA is what people are looking for when reaching for a romance! Unfortunately, the book market has made it that a novel over 100k is frowned upon, thus making Anne's story a 2-book series. :)

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

  4. We'll still get that HEA and two books - better than one. When I really like a book, I hate to see it end!