HEA vs. HFN


 

HEA = happily ever after
HFN = happy for now

On the weekend I wrote a guest post at RJ Scott’s blog touching upon my love of happily ever afters. To quote myself, I recently read some comments from a writer decrying HEA endings in m/m romance. Unrealistic! Pandering! Womanly! And so on. To these complaints, I blow a big ol’ virtual raspberry. There’s plenty of heartbreak out there in the real world. I read and write romance as an escape, and I don’t think there’s a single thing wrong with that.

That brings me to HFN endings. These are harder to define, in my opinion. I think many endings I consider HEA could also be considered HFN. Even if the characters are together at the end and happy and in love, anything could happen. Thinking of my own books, to me the ending of The Chimera Affair is HEA. But if I write a sequel, which is definitely on my to-do list, there’s of course going to have to be a truckload of angst for Sebastian and Kyle. I’ve always loved angsty stories — with the caveat that I get my happy ending.

I’ve always shied away from books that are labelled HFN, but perhaps I shouldn’t. After all, I don’t need everything tied up with a big, neat bow. But for some reason the HFN label brings with it a negativity for me, the notion that they’re happy for now, but everything could fall apart tomorrow.

So how do you differentiate between HEA and HFN? Is there specific criteria? Or is it just a general feeling? Or does it not matter at all as long as the H is there? Does the HFN label have any negative connotations, or am I just crazy? (Wait, don’t answer that last part…)

I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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