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Odd contract term question

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message 1: by David (new)

David | 67 comments I was recently reading the FAQ for the Hidden Legacy series by Ilona Andrews (first book: Burn for Me) and I come across the following in a question on how many books there will be in the series: "currently contracted for three, with a HEA at the end of the trilogy."

So here's my question: what does HEA mean in this context? A quick Google search didn't turn up anything meaningful, so I thought I would just see if anyone here knows.

Oh, and if you like any of the other Ilona Andrews books, I would recommend this series.


message 2: by Tassie Dave, S&L Historian (last edited Nov 03, 2014 04:29AM) (new)

Tassie Dave | 3639 comments Mod
It's going to have a good ending. They lived "Happily Ever After".

Some people don't want to commit to a series if it's going to have a disappointing or sad ending.


message 3: by J.E. (new)

J.E. Spatafore (jespatafore) Any acronym in any contract must be spelled out within the contract.

I think Tassie Dave has a good idea on it.


message 4: by Tassie Dave, S&L Historian (new)

Tassie Dave | 3639 comments Mod
I think the "HEA" is a promise to the readers, not a contractual obligation.

I could be wrong but publishers rarely commit authors to that specific an ending.


message 5: by Ruth (tilltab) Ashworth (last edited Nov 03, 2014 07:06AM) (new)

Ruth (tilltab) Ashworth | 1953 comments Wow, isn't that kind of a massive spoiler? Even when you are almost convinced things will all work out, I like the tension of worrying that everything could go terribly wrong. Mind you, I guess it's like a Disney movie for that...


message 6: by Louise (new)

Louise (louiseh87) Sounds like what the author is saying is that the publisher has definitely said three and that the storyline is intended to end there, rather than stopping mid-story in the hope the publisher will order more. I suspect "happily ever after" in this context simply means an ending with no loose threads left hanging over.


Ruth (tilltab) Ashworth | 1953 comments Oh, well, that makes much more sense!


message 8: by David (new)

David | 67 comments Yeah, you're probably right about it being "happily ever after." I had wondered if it was something like "option for more" though those words obviously don't work. Jason, it should be noted that the acronym was in a FAQ talking about the contract, not in the contract itself.

I'm a little disappointed in seeing a spoiler announced this far in advance. I mean, sure, we all pretty well know it's going to have a happy ending, but there should be some doubt.


message 9: by Sandi (new)

Sandi (sandikal) | 1212 comments Ruth wrote: "Wow, isn't that kind of a massive spoiler? Even when you are almost convinced things will all work out, I like the tension of worrying that everything could go terribly wrong. Mind you, I guess it'..."


It is a massive spoiler. I'm not usually bothered by spoilers, but I recently read the final book in the Hollows series by Kim Harrison. She posted on her blog that she was giving Rachel the happy ending she deserved. I didn't know what the happy ending would be, but it did kind of make the story less enjoyable because I knew that Rachel would have a happy ending no matter what else happened in the story.


Ruth (tilltab) Ashworth | 1953 comments Sandi wrote: "Ruth wrote: "Wow, isn't that kind of a massive spoiler? Even when you are almost convinced things will all work out, I like the tension of worrying that everything could go terribly wrong. Mind you..."

That sucks for you. It probably didn't make a great deal of difference, and, as I said, Disney movies and various other things give a clear indication of a happy ending from the start, but even so, it's sad that it has taken a little satisfaction from the overall impact.

I wonder why authors would spoil their own work in such a way? Is it a common thing?


message 11: by Tassie Dave, S&L Historian (new)

Tassie Dave | 3639 comments Mod
I think Louise might be right. It may just be the author's way of saying there's no more after the trilogy. It could still have a grim dark ending but one character walks off into a "HEA" sunset.

Romance readers demand the HEA guarantee.


message 12: by David (new)

David | 67 comments Tassie Dave wrote: "...Romance readers demand the HEA guarantee."

This makes me want to write a romance (not something I've previously considered) and not give it a HEA ending. Just to screw with the natural order.


message 13: by Tassie Dave, S&L Historian (last edited Nov 03, 2014 08:22PM) (new)

Tassie Dave | 3639 comments Mod
You mean like Love Story ;-)

Probably the most famous Romance book/movie that doesn't have a happy ending.


Ruth (tilltab) Ashworth | 1953 comments Now I have an urge to publish a book with blurb on the dust jacket stating 'okay, but a terrible ending. It's awful. Really really bad.' The trouble is, if the book actually had a pretty decent ending, do you think folk would be disappointed?


message 15: by Eric (new)

Eric Mesa (djotaku) | 635 comments I've been thinking a lot about this recently. I read an article on AV Club within the last six month or so talking about how during the Victorian Times each chapter had spoilers at the beginning. Eg:

Chapter 1: In which so and so eats some jam

And so you know that somewhere in this chapter someone will eat some jam. (usually more spoilery than that)

Map of Time which takes place in Victorian Times has a lot of fun with this by telling you what's going to happen, but being so vague about it that it usually ends up being the opposite of what you though or a surprise due to the vagueries of language, double entendres, etc

While there are some things where knowing the ending ruins it (Sixth Sense) there are others where it doesn't matter (Citizen Kane).

I guess it depends if you're a "get there" person or a "the journey is what's important" person. (I tend to be more of the latter, but am growing to appreciate more of the former)

Sometimes it doesn't even matter what type of person you are. After all, we all knew that the Titanic sinks, but it was the highest grossing film of its time by quite a few orders of magnitude.

Finally, I think there's a big difference between "there will be a happy ending" and "Kate kills Evil Lord". Who knows what form the happy ending will take? And who will it be happy for?


message 16: by Joe Informatico (new)

Joe Informatico (joeinformatico) | 888 comments Genre fiction usually prioritizes plot and setting, so genre readers tend to be invested in endings and resolutions. Literary fiction prioritizes sentence-level prose, character, and maybe themes.

But even in genre, different genres have different conventions. In romance, the reader usually knows the main couple will end up together, it's the characters and their interplay that's the main show. In epic fantasy written in the 70s, 80s, and 90s, did readers really think there was a chance the Dark Lord wouldn't be defeated? And any genre series centred around a specific main character, whether detective story, spy thriller, urban fantasy, or sword and sorcery, you could safely assume that main character would still be around at the end of the book.

Eric wrote: "I guess it depends if you're a "get there" person or a "the journey is what's important" person. (I tend to be more of the latter, but am growing to appreciate more of the former)"

I'm going in the opposite direction. I'm coming to realize there's really only a limited number of plots out there, and a limited number of subversions and deconstructions of those (and most aren't all that new and original). It's character, writing, the exploration of ideas, and the execution of the material that are becoming more important to me. A well-executed plot twist is still impressive, but it's not as important to my enjoyment of the story.


message 17: by Eric (new)

Eric Mesa (djotaku) | 635 comments Joe Informatico wrote: "Genre fiction usually prioritizes plot and setting, so genre readers tend to be invested in endings and resolutions. Literary fiction prioritizes sentence-level prose, character, and maybe themes. ..."

Heh, I just realized I got interrupted while writing my post and got the part you quoted backwards. I'm like you. I've been more of a "get there" and my younger brother is helping me be more of a "journey" person.


message 18: by Kevin (new)

Kevin | 701 comments Eric wrote: "I've been thinking a lot about this recently. I read an article on AV Club within the last six month or so talking about how during the Victorian Times each chapter had spoilers at the beginning. E..."

Catherynne M. Valente's Fairyland series does this. Including the "In which ..." part. Chris Wooding's Ketty Jay's series has something similar too, in that beneath each chapter header is a number of short subtitles that indicate what's going to happen.

In both these cases I'd say they're more teasers than spoilers though.


message 19: by Kevin (new)

Kevin | 701 comments Joe Informatico wrote: "I'm going in the opposite direction. I'm coming to realize there's really only a limited number of plots out there, and a limited number of subversions and deconstructions of those (and most aren't all that new and original). It's character, writing, the exploration of ideas, and the execution of the material that are becoming more important to me. A well-executed plot twist is still impressive, but it's not as important to my enjoyment of the story. "


I'm like this too. I like plot, plot is good. But I can read an entire book in which nothing much happens when it has great characters and a beautiful execution. I have much more trouble reading a fantastic story with flat characters. I think that's why I struggle with a lot of older sci-fi and fantasy.


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