I hope you're all coming over from Brenda Margriet because today we are talking about taboos in romance stories.
I know I will make many romance writer enemies with this plea. But please no epilogues.
The whole point of a romance is the emotionally satisfying ending. And yet, don’t spell it out for me. My taboo thought for a romance—no clear picture of “the end.”
I love an ambiguous ending. A happy but ambiguous ending. An epilogue robs my imagination of the opportunity to fill in the blanks. Some music person once told me that it’s the rests, the space between the notes, which make music good. I have no idea if this is true, since I’m tone deaf and only really like Taylor Swift and the Rolling Stones (and that song by Carrie Underwood about trashing her ex’s car).
My favorite ending in recent years was the movie “Friends with Kids” SPOILER ALERT-skip to the next paragraph if you haven’t seen the movie, or if PROFANITY is a problem for you. The couple decides to have a child together but remain friends. Of course, things turn romantic on her end. He doesn’t return the feelings. Not until it’s too late. Then after his big romantic gesture where he declares his love, she’s still not convinced. So he begs in a tearful heartfelt request, “Let me fuck the shit out of you. And if you’re not convinced, I promise never to try to kiss you or impregnate you again.” And she’s in tears, and it’s the sappiest more romantic moment when she says, “Fuck the shit out of me.”
And then it ends.
Really you need to see this movie. The most heart melting ending ever. And we don’t know for sure how it turns out, but we kinda know, and kinda knowing is the best part.
It’s a good rule of theater to exit the stage quickly. Tell a joke and get off. And it’s so much more powerful to have the last kiss, the triumphant win, the embrace. And then go to black.