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In What Ways can a Heroine live "Happily Ever After" without having kids/marriage? (1 Viewer)

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ross

Senior Member
I'm not sure you need to present an ever-after scenario, maybe just a Post Story situation. Being fulfilled can be self-discovery, vocational, directional or any number of non-relational situations.

That also leaves the door open for Book 2!
 

Hector

Senior Member
If you feel like that, write a reverse harem story, with the heroine ending up with a bunch of dudes.
 

MorganaPendragon25

Senior Member
It might also be worth looking beyond the things that she doesn't want (dealing with kids, having the marks of pregnancy on her body, whatever other horrors she's making of this) and really past the whole process of marriage/babies to where that leads to having a family.

If someone doesn't want to build a family the "traditional" way that doesn't necessarily mean that they don't want satisfying relationships (unless we're talking about a hermit or other hard-core loner) so perhaps an up-ending might be the promise that she's got people who are with her. A crew, a squad, compatriots, call them what you will.

Also, it might bear mentioning that this whole 'childfree' idea might have been super edgy in the 50's but it won't be now except for a very few.

Good point. I mean my heroine's family is basically her comrades since she doesn't have hardly any actual family left after her story is done. I think she may open her heart up to kids in the end as in being nicer and being more of a role model for them, yet she doesn't want kids herself.

On top of that, I'm kind of tired of the marriage/kids/family/babies thing as being the ultimate way to heal for a hero/heroine who has gone through hell and back. It's rather cliche at this point. A heroine cannot fall in love, she can fall in love and not have kids, she can fall in love and have kids. The last option is overused. I'm just saying it is perfectly okay and normal for a woman to not want kids. I know quite a handful in my life that don't and man, they'd give ya a talking to if you said to them they'd change their mind.
 

Annoying kid

Senior Member
What could a heroine possibly do with her life once her epic quest is over that doesn't involve her getting married and having kids?

Prepare for the next epic quest. If you survive something like that theres a good chance you'll become a much more hardened survivalist. In order to better handle it if trouble happens again.
 

MorganaPendragon25

Senior Member
Prepare for the next epic quest. If you survive something like that theres a good chance you'll become a much more hardened survivalist. In order to better handle it if trouble happens again.

Very true! I pictured one of my favorite heroines after reading your words here. Lara Croft. She is the ultimate badass in video games in my honest opinion. She is an adventure seeker and adrenaline junkie. Obviously she works out super hard for her body and fitness. She is a hardened survivalist. She will continue to do new quests until the end of her lifetime! Bonus is she is an only-child (like me!) and she is childfree (like me!). I love reading and writing character I can relate to or have similarities with!
 

Annoying kid

Senior Member
Very true! I pictured one of my favorite heroines after reading your words here. Lara Croft. She is the ultimate badass in video games in my honest opinion. She is an adventure seeker and adrenaline junkie. Obviously she works out super hard for her body and fitness. She is a hardened survivalist. She will continue to do new quests until the end of her lifetime! Bonus is she is an only-child (like me!) and she is childfree (like me!). I love reading and writing character I can relate to or have similarities with!

Indeed, Katniss Croft works hard to survive the Hunger Tombs.:icon_compress:

Screenshot 2020-12-29 at 2.42.19 AM - Edited.jpg

Characters don't know they're in a story, so they don't necessarily know when the end is truly upon them and will have a new appreciation for how dangerous the setting can be, so could work on improving the defences of towns, stockpiling weapons, as you say, training and even if you dont want to go down the stereotypical marriage and kids route, you could always have her take on some kid as a disciple or sidekick so she'd become a wise mentor to the next generation. That touches upon aspects of nurturing and themes of motherhood thats different from the usual more peaceful take on it. Or maybe she starts her own school to train others in fighting if thats her thing. Maybe shes becomes an explorer or a diplomat. Theres tons of places it could go beyond marriage and kids. I also think writers should move on somewhat from defaulting to that for main female leads.
 

MorganaPendragon25

Senior Member
Indeed, Katniss Croft works hard to survive the Hunger Tombs.:icon_compress:

View attachment 26291

Characters don't know they're in a story, so they don't necessarily know when the end is truly upon them and will have a new appreciation for how dangerous the setting can be, so could work on improving the defences of towns, stockpiling weapons, as you say, training and even if you dont want to go down the stereotypical marriage and kids route, you could always have her take on some kid as a disciple or sidekick so she'd become a wise mentor to the next generation. That touches upon aspects of nurturing and themes of motherhood thats different from the usual more peaceful take on it. Or maybe she starts her own school to train others in fighting if thats her thing. Maybe shes becomes an explorer or a diplomat. Theres tons of places it could go beyond marriage and kids. I also think writers should move on somewhat from defaulting to that for main female leads.

Lara Croft is the epitome of a female character I admire. A hardened survivor who is a passionate adventurer. I see a lot of similarities between Lara and Katniss. However, Katniss eventually became a mother (I wish she was childfree, it made more sense for her character) unlike Lara (who is childfree).

For my own heroine, yes I think her taking on a mentor role would be the best way for her when I think about it now. She wouldn't become a hermit and live in hiding for the rest of her life. People would respect her for her knowledge and skills.

And oh man, I wish writers would move on from the default ending for their main female leads. There is a TON more to a woman's life than wanting marriage and kids. There are MILLIONS of childfree women (meaning they do not want kids) on this planet and there are also MILLIONS of single women to who are happy being single and not married. Thanks for the idea of my heroine taking on a mentor role after her quest is over. My heroine is an only-child so maybe she becomes a mentor to her younger cousin who looks up to her. It would make sense.
 

Fiender

Senior Member
Oh, in reading this, I realized I also commented in your other thread! Well. :p

So, most of my books' main characters are woman. I'm a cis-gendered guy, but it's usually my default starting place. *shrug*.
Anyway, none of my books ended with a marriage or children that did not exist at the beginning of the book. There are tons of ways that you can make endings satisfying. The main character was in danger throughout the book, but now they're safe. They were struggling with an internal issue, but now they've surmounted it. They were looking for their place/purpose in life, and now they've found it. Etc, etc.
 

Annoying kid

Senior Member
A true happily ever after must be told, it can't only be shown. As no matter how happily its portrayed the reader obviously can't know its forever unless they're told its forever/the rest of her life. And it has to be by a reliable source, aka a god. Either the god of the story, aka the writer/narrator, or an in universe god.
 

VRanger

Staff member
Administrator
A true happily ever after must be told, it can't only be shown. As no matter how happily its portrayed the reader obviously can't know its forever unless they're told its forever/the rest of her life. And it has to be by a reliable source, aka a god. Either the god of the story, aka the writer/narrator, or an in universe god.

I believe "happily ever after" is an outmoded concept, anyway. "Happy for now" may not leave enough meat on the bone if the character's story is done (no sequel). "Life is now on a stable, satisfactory course" seems more pragmatic. :) (HEA, HFN, LINOASSC) I bet my new acronym never flies.
 

indianroads

Staff member
Global Moderator
What does this goal mean to your character? If it's a relationship or a job or even wealth - perhaps what they are really seeking is security. If so, your character can learn they can be secure with themselves in their current condition. Scrape away the outer manifestation of what they say they want, and allow your character to discover something greater about themselves.
 
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