Warning: for communication’s sake this post contains some gross over-generalizations but absolutely no judgments.
We’ve all heard the conflicting advice to write with a reader in mind and to write the stories we want to read—like all things artistic, those aren’t always in conflict! Sometimes the stories we want to write adhere to all the standard genre conventions. But what about when they don’t?
And what does an HEA for two men look like anyway?
Does it have to include a proposal/wedding? Do they have to move in together? Share the cost of stamps?
With the number of states and countries recognizing marriage equality on the rise, is the expectation for a proposal/wedding keeping pace?
My 2012 release included a proposal, the couple had been together over a decade and it just worked for them, but none of my 2013 releases—or my current WIPs—do. Will. Do. Whatever. I’m all for marriage equality (I worked my butt off to get it on Oregon’s 2012 ballot, which didn’t happen, but …). Marriage isn’t for everyone, either in real or fictional worlds. But will readers see endings without the promise of a wedding as “HFNs”? Are they less satisfying?
When I read, the story just has to fit the characters. Beyond the love, anything goes. So, a story without a proposal or wedding would be fine, as long as one/both of the MCs didn’t spend their page-time shopping ring catalogs or hunting down their “something blue” (nope, not going into male-male wedding rituals, that’s just an example :)).
For instance, in the ending of one of my stories, one of the guys says they’ll need a bigger bed. To me, that implies a willingness to commit—and since we’ve already seen the other one change vehicles for the relationship, that says HEA to me. Not to everyone, though.
So, in my never-ending quest to write more satisfying endings, I’m trying to see the line. You know, the line between the kind of HEA we’ve seen since Shakespeare’s comedies and the HFN for couples who don’t get married (for whatever reason, and regardless of the pairing).
What say you, friends? How important are the nuptials to that HEA feeling?