No, not of the world, or even of this blog. I've just been thinking about the HEA (Happy Ever After) again. Recently Bookworm, a poster at AAR, commented that
I see no reason why the romance genre shouldn't aspire to greatness, rather than settling for mere goodness. Some romances have come close, oh so close, but it's the very predictability that underwhelms me. I don't believe other genre fictions (sci-fi for instance) have such strict ending requirements or required formula.We've had discussions about the HEA on this blog in the past, but the following quotation from Jenny Crusie is one of the best explanations I've seen so far of why knowing the ending in advance isn't a problem for romance readers, and why it doesn't automatically lead to 'predictability':
But, hey, I understand many people like the safeness and the predictability of the guaranteed happy ever after. But when I open a book I really don't want to know what's on the last page until I get there.
Some readers go to the end of the book and read that immediately because they need to know it’s going to end okay. If they’re reassured, they start at the beginning. But if they already know what’s going to happen, why do they bother?And as for Bookworm's statement that 'I don't believe other genre fictions (sci-fi for instance) have such strict ending requirements':
Because while the climax is the pay-off, it’s not the reason people read story. They read story for the journey, to experience what the protagonist experiences, and by doing so, share in her or his triumph or fall at the end.
If you’re writing a romance novel, the expectation that the hero and heroine will be together at the end had better be fulfilled. If you’re writing a mystery, the detective better find out who did it at the end. If you’re writing horror, the Thing Under the Bed better turn out to be real and lethal, not just somebody’s hallucination. But those are the big genre expectations. Within your story, you can play with expectation as long as you keep the plot moves logical and motivated. (Crusie 2007)The picture is of a keyboard's end key, from Wikipedia.