Lately I've been thinking a bit about my work and romance and the elements of a book that make it appealing to me. In particular, what makes a believable happy ending.
When I first started writing, I was writing category and my books were mostly romantic comedies. Or at least, I had a fairly snarky/humourous voice. I think I'm pretty much incapable of writing a hero and heroine who have no sense of humour, who won't occasionally crack a joke or react sarcastically something or (hopefully) be quick with the witty retort because, for me, a shared sense of humour is something that's very attractive. And not just a sense of humour, but maybe also that sense of play, the feeling that a hero and heroine can have fun together in or out of bed, that they take delight in each other's company and that's there's that matched...something...zing/wit/intelligence/world view...that click. That, for me, is a key part of chemistry. It doesn't have to always be there at the start, sometimes the fun is that the hero or the heroine will bring out that side of the other, but I do need it to be there eventually.
My urban fantasy and fantasy books are much darker in tone than my categories were and go to some dark places but there's still humour and play in them. Because, I guess, when it boils right down to it, I can't imagine spending my life with someone who didn't make me laugh and I don't believe a happy ever after where I don't at least get a sniff of the possibility of that between the characters. A man who was completely serious would make me want to brain him with a coal scuttle and run off with Captain Jack (who at least would be entertaining before he was sidetracked by the next pretty face or treasure map). My heroines tend to share that world view. So even though I have to take my characters through some darkness, I want them to end up in the sunshine. Which is sometimes a juggling act but one that I love and one that I love in other people's work (there's a reason I'm a Joss fan, after all).
So how about you? Do you love a man who makes you laugh? Would you run away with Captain Jack or Miles Vorkosigan or Rupert Carsington or do you want to be swept away by a dark and brooding Mr Rochester or Heathcliff? Smiles or silent mystery? Or somewhere in between?