Thursday, 30 October 2008

Pastel Jacket, Anyone?

After watching BBC4's Reader, I Married Him programme about romantic fiction (iPlayer link available until 20:00 Saturday), I realised that this is something I also need to write. Don't worry, I'm not starting yet another project, this will fit nicely into an existing one. It may seem a bit strange to have some fairly serious romance in what is essentially a crime thriller at the moment, but I believe there is method in my madness.

Too many of the crime stories I've read have a very lightweight approach to the romance side of the story - if there even is one. This, coupled with my tendency to want to write cross-genre stories, means that I now intend to write some romantic fiction. You know what's coming next, don't you...?

...I need your help!

What is it that makes a good romance story? Can you tell me your top three things? Here's a list of things to think about, though feel free to include your own additions.

  • Happy endings?
  • Believable characters?
  • Plot: complex or simple?
  • Believable situations / settings?
  • Formulaic and predictability versus mystery and surprises?
  • Bedroom door: open or shut?
  • Comedy or serious?

Looking forward to your answers and thoughts.

Wannabe and Isbe Meeting #3

If you haven't already heard, the third WaW meeting is now booked for Monday 10th November. See the Wanna Meet-Up blog for details. I hope you can make it!

Happy Halloween everyone.


Calistro said...

For me it's all about intensity and doomed love! I know, I know...but I like a bit dose of misery in my romance. Some of my favourite films are The End of the Affair, The English Patient and Leaving Las Vegas (yes, that's a particularly twisted choice but there was something about two such disfunctional people finding each other that moved me) and Casablanca. I love a good sniffle over something that should have been but never could have been.

That said I do like a happy ending too. "The Truth About Cats and Dogs" is a great feel good film and what makes it work is the querky characters. And don't forget When Harry Met Sally (is it weird that it's films rather than books that have shaped my taste in romance?) The main thing, I think, for a romance to work is for the reader/audience to empathise with the main characters, for you to throw loads of conflict at them and for the ending to fit the tone of the story. As Robert McKee said - a romantic comedy should have a happy ending but a true romance should have a tragic end. I pretty much agree with that.

HelenMH said...

Still loving Asteroid!

I like tragic romances - Cathy and Heathcliff, Lucy Snowe and Paul Emanuel etc. At the moment my perfect romance is the will they/won't they one between Jackson Brodie and Louise Munroe. You could have guessed that couldn't you? I think it's because they're both quite flawed characters, but as the reader you can't help thinking that if only they could get together they'd be OK.

Lane said...

The most important thing for me is believable characters. I'm not that bothered whether the ending is happy or tragic as long as I totally believe in them (although I'm a sucker for a happy ending)

Preferably bedroom door shut too. Quite firmly:-)

Enjoying Asteroid.

Anonymous said...

Cally: Thanks for some very useful tips. I also tend to go for stories with a touch of misery in them, but then my tastes are not particularly mainstream.

Helen: Ooh, I'm way behind in the Atkinson books. Glad you're enjoying Asteroid. There are a few surprises in store...

Lane: Believable characters, now there's an idea. Are such things allowed in a crime thriller? Admittedly part of it is masquerading as a romantic novel. After my last squidge attempt, I have to agree with you about keeping the bedroom door shut. Mind you, they could always do it somewhere else...

Annieye said...

Hi Kev

Loving asteroid - now getting a bit of a chance to catch up and do some reading. It's good Kev. Really good.

I think that you need conflict, overcoming adversity, deep emotions and sacrifice. There needs to be an outcome, a goal or a deep yearning for someone or something, and reaching for the stars. Bedroom door shut, if you don't mind!

Anonymous said...

Annie: Good advice from a (nearly) professional. I'm glad you're enjoying Asteroid. It's fun to write like this, in small episodes.