Is it Happily ever After or not??

Happily Ever After or Not

I’m stuck in revision process #1 because I have a story that I wanted to write but it isn’t quite following the guidelines of what a Contemporary Romance novel should be.

Basically, I need to have a Happy Ending and, with this story and these characters, I don’t feel like they are at the point, relationship-wise, for one.

My first gut reaction is to end this book in limbo and write another one that will not only wrap up their story but give the readers a chance to learn more about them and watch them grow into a relationship that’s actually ready for a happy ending. (I already have a soft outline and notes for book #2)

But and this is a big but…..

This will be my first book I’ll ever try to publish., my first jump into becoming an author.

Is an agent and/or publisher going to even bother with me if I’m trying to sell a non-happy ending romance that doesn’t actually end at the last chapter?

Is it good or bad to have a series in the works on your first trip in the publishing rodeo?

If this books doesn’t have a happy ending can I even market it as a Contemporary Romance? or has it slipped into some other sub genre?

Right now I’m trying really hard to reshape my book so that a Happy Ending makes sense but the characters just aren’t cooperating. It feels fake and forced. It’s like they are screaming at me to stop, they aren’t ready. So my writing/revision sessions usually ends in frustration. I’m pretty sure I’m working on an ulcer from all this stress.

If I must have a Happy Ending, how do I create it seamlessly so that it make sense to readers?

As a reader I hate when I’m following two characters who hate each other, then they have sex, then somehow fall madly in love and live happily ever after.

What am I to do?

Ok friends and followers, I need your help.

Please take a moment out of your day and leave me a comment with either some advice, some pointers, or a link to an article you think might help me.

I really need it and I will absolutely 100% appreciate it!

Published by Darla G. Denton, Writer

I am a Contemporary Romance Writer for Curvy women and the men who love them.

13 thoughts on “Is it Happily ever After or not??

  1. I can’t tell you what to write. It’s your story. I can tell you it is not considered a true romance if there isn’t a HEA. It would be chiclit, fantasy, erotica, paranormal etc.

    As for series, I’ve heard that it is best to write at least the second book and have it in rough draft form before publishing your first book. If you self pub, offer the first free or discounted to hook readers. If you’re in a house, you are way ahead of schedule for your books. Not under pressure.


  2. If it makes you feel better, My first WIP Celestial is a series. She definitely does not have a HEA nor does she and the guy stay together. It’s more of a this is as good as it gets for now type of ending. Later she gets her HEA, or as much as she can have one though. She’s very tormented.


    1. That does make me feel better šŸ™‚ except that my plan is to write Romances and market them as romances lol I love your idea about how to market the series angle though. Thanks for the advice šŸ™‚


  3. Ooh, tough one…
    I had a similar experience when I was writing a contemporary romance- now defunct- where I couldn’t end it in a happily ever after. It felt too forced, rushed, and out of character.
    I think most publishers/agents would want a happily ever after ending. I think the books that end in cliff hangers are usually self-published- nothing against those books.
    It all depends on what the book is about, but you could end it where they agree to date one another or they want to be friends, take things slow. An indication that there’s a romance to come for the couple. That’s a happily ever after of sorts and if you make clear that it’s a series, the readers/agents/publishers should understand.
    I agree with what another post said. You should outline book 2 so that you can explain your reasoning for this particular ending, show them how you want their relationship to proceed in the next book.
    With a series, people shouldn’t expect the overarching story to be completed within the first book but they expect that the characters’ goals/fears/objectives are met in some way or another.


    1. Great advice! Thank you šŸ™‚ The version I have right now has a “lets date” happy ending but the way I want to end it is in turmoil and heartache with a chapter from the next book showing there is more.


  4. You do need to go with your gut on this one, only you know your story and characters best.

    Could you elongate the one book so as the relationship develops and ends happily?

    If you really feel like another book would be the best, then go for it šŸ™‚ Like I said, you know your story best horrible advice I know, and no help at all!).


  5. This isn’t my genre, so I can’t really say what would/would not work. I DO think you need to focus on the story more than the parameters you’re trying to squeeze it into (especially at this stage). Maybe this story doesn’t want to be a Contemporary Romance? Maybe it wants to be something completely different?

    If you have a good story, an agent will want it (no matter what genre it is). So, for now, focus on your story/characters more than meeting exact guidelines. Guidelines will smother and imprison your story.

    Hope that helps!


      1. We all have that fear, lol…And, to be honest, a lot of our work will never see the light of day. But, you can’t succeed if you don’t try. That’s what gets me through.

        And, even if THIS story doesn’t get off the desk, it’s gonna be a catalyst that gets your next one flying. For every story we write, we become better writers. So keep at it!


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