This month we’re talking about breaking the rules when writing romantic fiction and in our careers. But the truth is that the rules are more of a moving target these days than a stationary one.
As seismic shifts happen in the publishing industry the landscape will continue to change. Areas that were once considered the ‘hood (self-publishing) go through gentrification and are now proudly inhabited by indie rock stars. In fact, the transformation has been so impressive that even established Beverly Hills residents (traditionally-published, best-selling authors) have decided it might not be such a bad idea to have a summer home there, too.
Genres change. New ones emerge. (Hello, New Adult!) Even tried-and-true tropes are seeing some spicy new twists no-one saw coming. (BDSM-loving billionaire playboy vampires, anyone?)
In the midst of such change the winners are the readers and authors who learn to ride the wicked (as in awesome) waves of change. The authors who are successfully riding those waves seem to have a few more things in common:
- They’re smart.
- They work hard.
- They don’t take no for an answer.
- They’re in tune with their readers.
- They write what they love.
I’d like to tell you that’s why I’m a rulebreaker.
I’m a genre-bending rulebreaker for a far more selfish reason. That’s what I like to read.
I reject the notion that only heroes get to be flawed or difficult while heroines must be syrupy sweet, fragile little flowers in need of a good rescuing. I like my characters a little broken and I love taking the journey with them as they unfold the secrets to finding their happy ending.
I don’t believe that a happy ending means that every single thread is wrapped up neatly in a bow. Nor do I believe that every story needs to end with forever. I’m satisfied with a romance that ends with a happy-for-now. Hell, if the story is well-told, a maybe can be just as satisfying. The books and movies I remember most are the ones that left me wondering what happens next. Or the ones where the story didn’t end at all the way I expected.
I know my rulebreaking ideas aren’t necessarily popular. But those are the stories and characters I enjoy writing and reading about. So, I’ll keep working hard to grow and improve my craft while writing what I love. Eventually I’ll catch a wicked awesome wave of my own. 😉
Where do you fall on the spectrum of happily ever after versus happy for now? Have you ever read a book in which the ending wasn’t what you expected, yet you couldn’t stop thinking about it?