Fairytale Romance Not all it’s cracked up to be?

I wrote before about how I love to write romance.

But I am coming upon an issue with the fairytale aspect of it.

By fairytale I mean, “if you love someone then you are meant to be together forever and all other problems are moot.”

I’m struggling with writing, because this has oft been the essence of many a romance novel. We’re in love, so you and I will be together forever.

Never mind the hero and heroine only met sometimes days before. It doesnt’ take long to fall in love with someone. But falling in love doesn’t mean you should jump into anything. I bought into this myth too many times and made some mistakes, and managed to catch myself before making them.

The last time I did it I wound up with my current partner and he was the best one I’d seen so I elected to stop spinning the wheel of fortune and keep him. It’s been my best decision to date.

My life aside, I think it’s the wrong message to send to women, one that has gone on far too long. That’s reality however.

Fantasy is another issue. As a writer, it’s easier to just go with the fairytale. It’s another layer of complication that sometimes my story could do without. I also love the fantasy that one person can fix all the problems in my life.

But going with it, isn’t true to my thoughts on the subject. It also adds a layer of complication that might just make my story a bit better. And I can dream about inspiring someone, somewhere to think about her choices just a little harder before she jumps. (Isn’t influencing someone what we writer’s really LONG to do?).

So, as a reader or writer, how to do you feel about the fairytale aspect of romances?

Am I being too realistic (read that is fun killer) with the fantasy and the dream? Should fairytales stick around as escapstist fiction?

Or do you prefer fiction that ins grounded in realism?


6 thoughts on “Fairytale Romance Not all it’s cracked up to be?

  1. Good post; great question! This is such a complicated subject! I’m not a romance writer, so maybe my views on this should be discounted a bit. And it’s taken me a long, long time to come to this conclusion — after falling into many an Alice-like rabbit hole in the logic between “once upon a time” and “the end.” But for several years now my general opinion on fiction has gelled into: it’s all fantasy. This is a very, very, very liberating view for me as a writer, but it also has the virtue of being true. (I also think this about memoir and most non-fiction, but for different reasons.) When we’re writing a story, I believe writers need to ask ourselves what fantasy we want readers to experience and go with that. So in romance, if writers want readers to have the emotional experience of “happily ever after,” great, write that. If the goal is to deliver the emotional experience of “marriage is a lot of work but the rewards are huge,” great, write that. In other words, focus on the emotional message and then write to reach it. Sorry if this doesn’t make much sense…it’s hard to distill, I guess???

    • The idea of fantasy/fiction/unreal is a huge theme., so yes it’s hard to distill in a hundred words. You did make a lot of sense Diane. And it entirely makes sense to me. Fiction is fiction. It doesn’t have to be truth or a moral message. It can be, but within that I can do whatever I want. Now, just have to figure out what I want … funny how we don’t know that right away. That’s another post however … Thank you.

  2. For me, the best part of romance is the falling in love. I don’t need the forever and ever, just happy for now. If it ends with marriage or a proposal, cool, but I don’t need that to really like the book. I think it has to feel real for the characters. It bothers me when the happy forever is forced because the author thinks that’s the way it’s supposed to be.

    • This is an awesome point I had not considered Shannyn. Happily ever… for now. It’s not an either or … it’s a take it one day at a time. Thank you.

  3. One fairytale plot device I don’t care for in romance is the “destined soulmates.” But I can go with it if it’s handled well, i.e. presented in a way where it’s clear the characters chose over adversity to be together despite the predestination.

    I also don’t care for the cute little epilogue that shows hero/heroine a year later with picket fence, perfect baby and another on the way. Just too pat and perfect. I’m OK with ending with a wedding (that happens in one of my books), but I like a hint that it’s not going to be perfect and trouble-free. However, a cutesy, perfect HEA won’t stop me from buying other books from that author as long as the rest of the book was good!

    • Oh yeah, soulmates is something I don’t believe in (which caused a fight in my relationship once my hubby heard “you aren’t my soulmate” … which is not totally what I meant).

      I wonder where the romantic baby stuff came from, because having a baby is anything but, having a 2 year old is even less so. Though there was a Sandra Brown book years ago where the epilogue went to when the characters had teenagers and were still hot for each other, which I enjoyed.

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