History SoYouWantTo / WriteALoveStory

12th May '17 12:48:06 AM jormis29
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* The film ''Paris, Je T'Aime,'' a collection of 20 short films about love set in the most romanticized city of all time, Paris. This superb collection runs the gamut, from LoveAtFirstSight, to [[ILoveYouVampireSon Love At First Bite]], to [[SlapSlapKiss Love At First Punch,]] Unrequited Love, to relationship retrospectives, to falling out of love, falling back ''in'' love, keeping yourself in love, and the eulogy to a dead love affair - as well as a woman's brief love story with Paris itself.

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* The film ''Paris, Je T'Aime,'' ''Film/ParisJeTAime,'' a collection of 20 short films about love set in the most romanticized city of all time, Paris. This superb collection runs the gamut, from LoveAtFirstSight, to [[ILoveYouVampireSon Love At First Bite]], to [[SlapSlapKiss Love At First Punch,]] Unrequited Love, to relationship retrospectives, to falling out of love, falling back ''in'' love, keeping yourself in love, and the eulogy to a dead love affair - as well as a woman's brief love story with Paris itself.
10th Oct '16 1:47:56 PM slvstrChung
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Anyhow, you've now got, Jordan, Kris and Dannie, plus whatever additional supporting cast you decide to put in. Now comes the hard part: all three characters need ''personality''. Who they are, after all, affects how they're going to relate to each other, and the romance (sub)plot is all ''about'' that relating. There are a gazillion different ways characters can relate to each other romantically, from SlapSlapKiss to SickeninglySweethearts to OppositesAttract, but you should pick one (or several) and make them your focus. This, of course, requires a fairly thorough understanding of who Jordan, Kris and Dannie are ''before'' they meet and begin to variously fall in love with each other, so get cracking.

Here's a hint: if you're bad at characterization, you cannot write good romance. Period. Hell, one could make the argument that you can't write good ''anything''. Many audiences are biased in favor of character work, so take this with a grain of salt, but fiction usually comes in only two parts: CharacterizationTropes, and {{Necessary Weasel}}s. What precisely that weasel is depends on your genre: in an action movie, it's explosions; in a science-fiction movie, it's AppliedPhlebotinum; in a mainstream comic book, it's StockSuperpowers; in a love story, it's angst, WillTheyOrWontThey, SlapSlapKiss, etc. But the point is that these are just props, just disguises, just the particular language the story uses to tell itself. If you ''strip away'' these weasels, you're left with characters standing naked and exposed, and they're either interesting or they're not. And if they aren't, no amount of gratuitous {{fanservice}} will make the story good. (Just ask [[Film/{{Transformers}} Michael Bay]].)

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Anyhow, you've now got, got Jordan, Kris and Dannie, plus whatever additional supporting cast you decide to put in. Now comes the hard part: all three characters need ''personality''. Who they are, after all, affects how they're going to relate to each other, and the romance (sub)plot is all ''about'' that relating. There are a gazillion different ways characters can relate to each other romantically, from SlapSlapKiss to SickeninglySweethearts to OppositesAttract, but you should pick one (or several) and make them your focus. This, of course, requires a fairly thorough understanding of who Jordan, Kris and Dannie are ''before'' they meet and begin to variously fall in love with each other, so get cracking.

Here's a hint: if you're bad at characterization, you cannot write good romance. Period. Hell, one could make the argument that you can't write good ''anything''. Many audiences are biased in favor of character work, so take It may be an oversimplification to divide stories this with a grain of salt, way, but we're gonna do it anyway: fiction usually comes in only two parts: CharacterizationTropes, and {{Necessary Weasel}}s. What precisely that weasel is depends on your genre: in an action movie, it's explosions; in a science-fiction movie, it's AppliedPhlebotinum; in a mainstream comic book, it's StockSuperpowers; in a love story, it's angst, WillTheyOrWontThey, SlapSlapKiss, etc. But the point is that these are just props, just disguises, just the particular language the story uses to tell itself. If you ''strip away'' these weasels, you're left with characters standing naked and exposed, and they're either interesting or they're not. And if they aren't, no amount of gratuitous {{fanservice}} will make the story good. (Just ask [[Film/{{Transformers}} Michael Bay]].)



To prove it, let's keep looking at RomanceNovelPlots and the RomanceArc. In a typical ThreeActStructure, the RelationshipUpgrade occurs at the end of the first act, and the Inevitable SecondActBreakup or ThirdActMisunderstanding setting up the final resolution. (The two twists seem similar, but the first is, "Jordan dumps Kris for something Jordan did" while the other is "Jordan dumps Kris because of something Kris ''thinks'' Jordan did, which is either totally false or only true FromACertainPointOfView.") What's the break-up about? What causes it? What is the Thing Jordan Did? To answer that, you need to look at... Jordan's personality and [[CharacterFlawIndex Character Flaws]]. Is Jordan a cheater? A compulsive liar? An inveterate gambler? A lazy layabout who can't keep a job? Secretly an axe murderer? Because Kris' reactions to any of these things will also depend on what ''Kris'' wants. The sort of person who wants BabiesEverAfter will treat an unemployed thumb-twiddler differently than someone who is SecretlyWealthy.

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To prove it, let's keep looking at RomanceNovelPlots and the RomanceArc. In a typical ThreeActStructure, the RelationshipUpgrade occurs at the end of the first act, and the Inevitable SecondActBreakup or ThirdActMisunderstanding setting up the final resolution. (The two twists seem similar, but the first is, "Jordan dumps Kris for something Jordan did" while the other is "Jordan dumps Kris because of something Kris ''thinks'' Jordan did, which is either totally false or only true FromACertainPointOfView.") What's the break-up about? What causes it? What is the Thing Jordan Did? To answer that, you need to look at... Jordan's personality and [[CharacterFlawIndex Character Flaws]]. Is Jordan a cheater? A compulsive liar? An inveterate gambler? A lazy layabout who can't keep a job? Secretly an axe murderer? Because Kris' reactions to any of these things will also depend on what ''Kris'' wants. The sort of person who wants BabiesEverAfter A GoldDigger will treat an unemployed thumb-twiddler differently than someone who is SecretlyWealthy.



There are two basic layers in any relationship. One layer is that oft-used word, '''Chemistry''' and has to do with your desired traits. Ask yourself right now: what do you look for in a potential mate or significant-other? TroubledButCute? {{Adorkable}}? CloudCuckooLander? [[SupernaturalGoldEyes Eyes of gold]], [[YouGottaHaveBlueHair hair of blue]]? Well, those are your desired traits. If Marty wants to be swept up into the arms of someone TallDarkAndSnarky, then when such a person walks into "Marty's Books and Stationery" some time during the second page of the novel, The Reader expects them to end up together. Likewise, Quinn is looking for someone feisty and independent who won't just play the fainting violet. Oh, and maybe HeroesWantRedheads. When Quinn walks into that bookstore and sees the fiery-haired proprietor chewing someone out, The Reader expects Quinn to be interested. Why? Because of desired traits; because of chemistry. That makes Marty's presence in Quinn's life (and vice versa) a ChekhovsGun. This is how LoveAtFirstSight justifies its existence, incidentally, and it's also where OppositesAttract comes into play; in general you don't want to date someone who's an exact clone of you. ([[ScrewYourself Unless you do]]. If you do, please don't tell me about it.)

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There are two basic layers in any relationship. One layer is that oft-used word, '''Chemistry''' and has to do with your desired traits. Ask yourself right now: what do you look for in a potential mate or significant-other? TroubledButCute? {{Adorkable}}? CloudCuckooLander? [[SupernaturalGoldEyes Eyes of gold]], [[YouGottaHaveBlueHair hair of blue]]? Well, those are your desired traits. If Marty Quinn wants to be swept up into the arms of someone TallDarkAndSnarky, then when such a person walks into "Marty's "Quinn's Books and Stationery" some time during the second page of the novel, The Reader expects them to end up together. Likewise, Quinn Robin is looking for someone feisty and independent who won't just play the fainting violet. Oh, and maybe HeroesWantRedheads. When Quinn Robin walks into that bookstore and sees the fiery-haired proprietor chewing someone out, The Reader expects Quinn Robin to be interested. Why? Because of desired traits; because of chemistry. That makes Marty's presence in Quinn's presence in Robin's life (and vice versa) a ChekhovsGun. This is how LoveAtFirstSight justifies its existence, incidentally, and it's also where OppositesAttract comes into play; in general you don't want to date someone who's an exact clone of you. ([[ScrewYourself Unless you do]]. If you do, please don't tell me about it.)



This is one of the ways the WrongGuyFirst plot or BettyAndVeronica situation can get resolved: Devin spends some time with Haley, and enjoys the mechanics they have together; Haley is a good person, but is living a life that goes in a different direction than Devin's, and in a way unsuitable for long-term entanglement. (Alternately, Haley's just psycho.) No, it's Robin, TheNondescript, the plain one, who really fits. True, Robin is kind of boring, because they share so much in common... But consider where Devin stands with Haley. Devin wants to travel the world, but Haley hates airplanes. Devin loves animals and wants a dog, but Haley is allergic to animal dander. Devin wants to be a full-time doctor, and Haley wants to have a fulfilling law career... and they both want their spouse to abandon their career, stay home and have BabiesEverAfter. With this in mind, do OppositesAttract anymore? Do you ''really'' want to spend your life with someone who's going to be at cross-purposes to you, all the time?—whose happiness ''requires'' your misery, and vice versa? Or do you want someone who dreams your dreams? Like Robin, for instance?

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This is one of the ways the WrongGuyFirst plot or BettyAndVeronica situation can get resolved: Devin Quinn spends some time with Haley, Robin, and enjoys the mechanics they have together; Haley Robin is a good person, but is living a life that goes in a different direction than Devin's, and in a way unsuitable for long-term entanglement. (Alternately, Haley's just psycho.) entanglement. No, it's Robin, the other love interest Tracey, TheNondescript, the plain one, who really fits. True, Robin Tracey is kind of boring, because they share so much in common... But consider where Devin Quinn stands with Haley. Devin Robin. Quinn wants to travel the world, but Haley Robin hates airplanes. Devin Quinn loves animals and wants a dog, but Haley Robin is allergic to animal dander. Devin Quinn wants to be a full-time doctor, and Haley wants to have a fulfilling law career... and they both want their spouse to abandon their career, stay home and have BabiesEverAfter. With this in mind, do OppositesAttract anymore? Do you ''really'' want to spend your life with someone who's going to be at cross-purposes to you, all the time?—whose happiness ''requires'' your misery, and vice versa? Or do you want someone who dreams your dreams? Like Robin, Tracey, for instance?



There is room for a sort of "inside-out love story." Romances typically focus on BoyMeetsGirl and what happens next. But for most people, meeting the [=wo/man=] of your dreams isn't the first act of the story; it's the ''last'', and there's a great deal of set-up, CharacterDevelopment and {{Foreshadowing}} leading up to it. So how about a story that goes by that pattern?—that ''ends'' with the BoyMeetsGirl, and instead focuses on what happens ''before'', and on what makes the two characters compatible? If you think it's impossible, I advise you to check out ''Series/HowIMetYourMother''. Ted doesn't meet The Mother until the series finale, and the prior nine years are spent setting up, in detail, his Chemistry and Compatibility needs. The story isn't about how Ted fell in love with her, but ''why''. And it works, because--again--romance is all about personality. Since we already know that Ted and The Mother are perfect for each other, the HappilyEverAfter is a ForegoneConclusion (even aside from how the title of the show is a WalkingSpoiler). Additionally, while Ted spends a lot of time dating the [[WrongGirlFirst Wrong Girl(s) First]], the thing is that this is ''very'' much TruthInTelevision. When you get down to it, dating is all ''about'' dating the wrong people first, and figuring out ''why'' they are wrong for you. After all, you can't find your OneTrueLove if you have no idea what they should be like. (Unless you live in a fairy tale where you can expect your soulmate to drop into your lap. [[CaptainObvious Most people don't]].)

For that matter, how about AnachronicOrder? The story does not need to be told in the normal manner. Music/ViennaTeng has a song called "[[http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=vienna+teng+recessional Recessional]]" which tells the love story backwards. An insane composer of musical theater named Jason Robert Brown decided to do both orders at once, and penned ''Theatre/TheLastFiveYears''. It's about a man and a woman who fall in love, get married and eventually divorce, but the difference between them is that all of Cathy's scenes take place BackToFront, whereas Jamie's happen in the normal order. (Brown elaborated on this structure by making every single song a monologue, with the other character not present, or at least not allowed to respond. It also creates even more energy and excitement around the single moment when their timelines cross, on their WeddingDay.) And finally there's ''Film/FiveHundredDaysOfSummer'', which is roughly forward-to-back but does a great deal of skipping around, its narrative sequence more shaken up than a salad.

Because most {{Romance Novel}}s are written by Americans, the ArrangedMarriage doesn't get touched upon much, and when it does it's inevitably a PerfectlyArrangedMarriage. Why does this have to be so? A love story is about two characters discovering that they love each other, regardless of when (or if!) they get married. Now, ''Western'' sensibilities declare this must happen ''before'' the wedding bells ring; MarriageBeforeRomance is basically unknown in those cultures. Simply put, this is ValuesDissonance. It is ''entirely'' possible for a person in an arranged marriage to develop love for their spouse as time passes, and, in RealLife, many do. Besides, if networking can find you jobs and new friends, why not try it for finding a spouse? It might be more successful than doing it yourself (as some of those divorcees might remind you).

Infidelity is another issue you could approach. Obviously, you need to be ''very'' careful with this one, because it could easily devolve into a FamilyUnfriendlyAesop. But the simple fact is that people become unhappy in their relationships sometimes, and begin to look outside that relationship for emotional and/or sexual satisfaction. Sometimes the cheater is a heartless bastard. But sometimes their spouses change. What if, after being married to Blair for thirteen years, Drew discovers that a change of life-direction is in order? Drew decides to re-invent: changes job, changes wardrobe, picks up new hobbies, starts drinking like a fish (or stops). Suddenly Drew is living a completely new life... one that Blair can't stand. By way of cosmic accident, Blair is now married to the wrong person.

Now, the traditional marriage vows address this: when you say, "For better or for worse," what you're saying is, "I promise to not only love the person you are today, Drew, but [[UndyingLoyalty the stranger you will be tomorrow]]." And generally, one should keep one's promises. But the fact is that a spouse ''can'' become a stranger... and, like it or not, love is completely voluntary. It's something you choose to do. Push comes to shove, you can probably learn to love ''anyone''... but should you ''have'' to? But then what about your vow? You could write some very interesting stories about the interplay of emotions and the GrayAndGreyMorality of this situation. (And notice that we haven't even ''added'' Morgan into the fray yet; we're still talking about why Blair wants to cheat in the ''first'' place.)

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There is room for a sort of "inside-out love story." Romances typically focus on BoyMeetsGirl and what happens next. But for most people, meeting the [=wo/man=] of your dreams isn't the first act of the story; story, it's the ''last'', ''last''; and there's a great deal of set-up, CharacterDevelopment and {{Foreshadowing}} leading up to it. So how about a story where the LastGirlWins? How about, for that goes by matter, a story that pattern?—that ''ends'' with the BoyMeetsGirl, and instead focuses on what happens ''before'', ''before'' they meet, and on what makes the two characters compatible? If you think it's impossible, I advise you to check out ''Series/HowIMetYourMother''. Ted doesn't meet The Mother until the series finale, and the prior nine years are spent setting up, in detail, his Chemistry and Compatibility needs. The story isn't about how Ted fell in love with her, but ''why''. And it works, because--again--romance is all about personality. Since we already know that Ted and The Mother are perfect for each other, the HappilyEverAfter is a ForegoneConclusion (even aside from how the title of the show is a WalkingSpoiler). Additionally, while Ted spends a lot of time dating the [[WrongGirlFirst Wrong Girl(s) First]], the thing is that this is ''very'' much TruthInTelevision. When you get down to it, dating is all ''about'' dating the wrong people first, and figuring out ''why'' they are wrong for you. After all, you, so that you can't can find your OneTrueLove if and/or recognize them ''as'' your One True Love when you have no idea what they should be like.find them. (Unless you live in a fairy tale where you can expect your soulmate to drop into your lap. [[CaptainObvious Most people don't]].)

For that matter, how about AnachronicOrder? The story does not need to be told in the normal manner. Music/ViennaTeng has a song called "[[http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=vienna+teng+recessional Recessional]]" which tells the love story backwards. An insane composer of musical theater named Jason Robert Brown decided to do both orders at once, and penned ''Theatre/TheLastFiveYears''. It's about a man and a woman who fall in love, get married and eventually divorce, but the difference between them is that all of Cathy's scenes take place BackToFront, whereas Jamie's happen in the normal order. (Brown elaborated on this structure by making every single song a monologue, with the other character not present, or at least not allowed to respond. It also creates even more energy and excitement around the single moment when their timelines cross, on their WeddingDay.) And finally there's ''Film/FiveHundredDaysOfSummer'', which is roughly forward-to-back front-to-back but does a great deal of skipping around, its narrative sequence more shaken up than a salad.

Because most {{Romance Novel}}s are written by Americans, the ArrangedMarriage doesn't get touched upon much, and when it does it's inevitably a PerfectlyArrangedMarriage. Why does this have to be so? A love story is about two characters discovering that they love each other, regardless of when (or if!) they get married. Now, ''Western'' Western sensibilities declare this must happen ''before'' the wedding bells ring; MarriageBeforeRomance is basically unknown in those cultures. Simply put, this is ValuesDissonance. It is ''entirely'' possible for a person in an arranged marriage to develop love for their spouse as time passes, and, in RealLife, many do. Besides, if networking can find you jobs and new friends, why not try it for finding a spouse? It might be more successful than doing it yourself (as some of those divorcees might remind you).

Infidelity is another issue you could approach. Obviously, you need to be ''very'' careful with this one, because it could easily devolve into a FamilyUnfriendlyAesop. But the simple fact is that people become unhappy in their relationships sometimes, and begin to look outside that relationship for emotional and/or sexual satisfaction. Sometimes the cheater is a heartless bastard. But sometimes their spouses change. What if, after being married to Blair for thirteen spouse changes. Consider what happened just before the camera started rolling on the SitCom ''Series/{{Friends}}''. Ross Geller finds out that Carol (née Wittick), his spouse of several years, Drew discovers is a lesbian, because she's just had her ClosetKey turned. They divorce, and Ross's introduction in the pilot episode is moping over the end of his marriage. What did Ross do wrong? ''Nothing''--aside from marry a lesbian; but, in both his and Carol's defense, neither of them ''knew'' she was a lesbian at the time, and you can't really avoid something you don't know about. The thing about long-term relationships is that a ''people have CharacterDevelopment''. They change of life-direction is in order? Drew decides to re-invent: changes job, changes change wardrobe, picks pick up new hobbies, starts start drinking like a fish (or stops). Suddenly Drew is living stop), discover a new angle on their sexuality, etc. (It doesn't even have to be sexual orientation; maybe, in another version of the story, Carol gets ''really'' into a particular kink, while Ross doesn't.) Suddenly, Carol wants to live a completely new life... one that Blair can't stand. By way and, through no fault of cosmic accident, Blair is now his own (or anyone's, really), Ross and Carol are married to the wrong person.

people.

Now, the traditional marriage vows address this: when you say, "For better or for worse," what you're saying is, "I promise to not only love the person you are today, Drew, but [[UndyingLoyalty the stranger you will be tomorrow]]." And generally, [[ThePromise one should keep one's promises.promises]]. But the fact is that a spouse ''can'' become a stranger... and, like it or not, love is completely voluntary. It's something you choose to do. Push comes to shove, you can probably learn to love ''anyone''... but should you ''have'' to? But then what about your vow? You could write some very ''very'' interesting stories about the interplay of emotions and the GrayAndGreyMorality of this situation. (And notice that we haven't even ''added'' Morgan a third party into the fray yet; we're still talking about why Blair wants someone might want to cheat in the ''first'' place.)



This might be a good time to mention another bit of RealLife techology: the "[[http://www.5lovelanguages.com/learn-the-languages/the-five-love-languages/ Five Love Languages]]" developed by marriage counselor Dr. Gary Chapman. Simply put, Chapman asserts that there are five main ways a person can express love or affection: Words of Praise (saying nice things), Receiving Gifts, spending Quality Time together, Physical Touch, and "Acts Of Service" (the only of the five that doesn't have its own article on TheOtherWiki, but basically starts with the words, "Here, let me do that for you"). While all human beings are fluent in all five languages, people tend to specialize in one or two. For instance, AllMenArePerverts, so Physical Touch would be a big deal for just about any male character (or male actual-person). Vice versa, a HollywoodHomely woman (or ''actual''-homely woman) might put a lot of importance being told she's beautiful, because so few people ever say that to her, and even fewer mean it. But what if your characters [[PoorCommunicationKills don't speak the same language]]? Sam loves giving gifts, but to Dana gift-giving is the least important of the five languages; Dana's very touchy-feely, but that just gets Sam's back up because the [[DefrostingIceQueen Ice Monarch isn't Defrosted yet]].

Because here's the thing: When you do something, it's not what you intended that matters; it's how it's ''perceived'' that matters. Sam could spend five hours hand-crafting something for Dana... and if Dana just doesn't care, then Sam wasted all that time. Dana (on the other hand) loves to give back-rubs and massages, which Sam maybe could use because of the amount of stress Sam picks up over the course of life, job and etc... and which Sam doesn't care about, because "physical comfort" is way low down on the list of My Priorities. "Why are you offering me this worthless thing?" Well, it's ''not'' worthless to the giver... But it's not the giver's opinion that matters. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. (Which is where you learn to ''share'' the giver's opinion; this is called Empathy. But that's another "So You Want To" article.)

to:

This might be a good time to mention another bit of RealLife techology: the "[[http://www.5lovelanguages.com/learn-the-languages/the-five-love-languages/ Five Love Languages]]" developed by marriage counselor Dr. Gary Chapman. Simply put, Chapman asserts that there are five main ways a person can express love or affection: Words of Praise (saying nice things), Receiving Gifts, spending Quality Time together, Physical Touch, and "Acts Of Service" (the only of the five that doesn't have its own article on TheOtherWiki, but basically starts with the words, "Here, let me do that for you"). While all human beings are fluent in all five languages, people tend to specialize in one or two. For instance, AllMenArePerverts, so Physical Touch would be a big deal for just about any male character (or male actual-person). Vice versa, a HollywoodHomely woman (or ''actual''-homely woman) might put a lot of importance being told she's beautiful, because so few people ever say that to her, and even fewer mean it. But what if your characters [[PoorCommunicationKills don't speak the same language]]? Sam Devin loves giving gifts, but to Dana Haley gift-giving is the least important of the five languages; Dana's Haley's very touchy-feely, but that just gets Sam's Devin's back up because the [[DefrostingIceQueen Ice Monarch isn't Defrosted yet]].

Because here's the thing: When you do something, it's not what you intended that matters; it's how it's ''perceived'' that matters. Sam Devin could spend five hours hand-crafting something for Dana... Haley... and if Dana Haley just doesn't care, then Sam Devin wasted all that time. Dana Haley (on the other hand) loves to give back-rubs and massages, which Sam Devin maybe could use because of the amount of stress Sam picks up over the course of life, job and etc... and which Sam Devin doesn't care about, because "physical comfort" is way low down on the Devin's list of My Priorities.priorities. "Why are you offering me this worthless thing?" Well, it's ''not'' worthless to the giver... But it's not the giver's opinion that matters. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. (Which is where you learn to ''share'' the giver's opinion; this is called Empathy. But that's another "So You Want To" article.)



Invoke this. Exploit this. Give The Reader just enough of a coathanger that they can create ''their version'' of your character, and then leave it at that. Stories are always better when The Reader ''is'' the Casting Director.

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Invoke this. Exploit this. Give The Reader just enough of a coathanger coat-hanger that they can create ''their version'' of your character, and then leave it at that. Stories are always better when The Reader ''is'' the Casting Director.
18th Jul '16 9:06:05 PM slvstrChung
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A lot of romance stories, particularly movies, involve young unwed characters who are HollywoodHomely at worst, attractive military types most of the time. Divorcees, widow/ers, the honestly unattractive and desperate ChristmasCake types don't get a whole lot of attention. And yet, with the divorce rate in America approaching 50%, a substantial portion of the dating pool is going to be "previously owned" or "past their sell-by dates". Want to tackle this? For that matter, how about a story about husband and wife putting the spark back into their marriage? This may sound boring, but you could end up with a ''huge'' readership: for all that romance novels offer escapism, there are readers who like to be able to take something useful out of their fiction, something they can actually apply to their own lives. If there weren't, we wouldn't have an "UnfortunateImplications" index.

to:

A lot of romance stories, particularly movies, involve young unwed characters who are HollywoodHomely at worst, attractive military types most of the time. Divorcees, widow/ers, the honestly unattractive and desperate ChristmasCake types don't get a whole lot of attention. And yet, with the divorce rate about one in four marriages in America approaching 50%, ending in divorce, a substantial portion significant prtion of the dating pool is going to be "previously owned" or "past their sell-by dates". Want to tackle this? For that matter, how about a story about husband and wife putting the spark back into their marriage? This may sound boring, but you could end up with a ''huge'' readership: for all that romance novels offer escapism, there are readers who like to be able to take something useful out of their fiction, something they can actually apply to their own lives. If there weren't, we wouldn't have an "UnfortunateImplications" index.



For that matter, how about AnachronicOrder? The story does not need to be told in the normal manner. Music/ViennaTeng has a song called "[[http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=vienna+teng+recessional Recessional]]" which tells the love story backwards. An insane composer of musical theater named Jason Robert Brown decided to do both at once, and penned ''Theatre/TheLastFiveYears''. It's about a man and a woman who fall in love, get married and eventually divorce, but the difference between them is that all of Cathy's scenes take place BackToFront, whereas Jamie's happen in the normal order. (Brown elaborated on this structure by making every single song a monologue, with the other character not present, or at least not allowed to respond. It also creates even more energy and excitement around the single moment when their timelines cross: on their WeddingDay.) And finally there's ''Film/FiveHundredDaysOfSummer'', which is roughly forward-to-back but does a great deal of skipping around, its narrative sequence more shaken up than a salad.

Because most {{Romance Novel}}s are written by Americans, the ArrangedMarriage doesn't get touched upon much, and when it does it's inevitably a PerfectlyArrangedMarriage. Why does this have to be so? A love story is about two characters discovering that they love each other, regardless of when (or if!) they get married. Now, ''Western'' sensibilities declare this must happen ''before'' the wedding bells ring; MarriageBeforeRomance is basically unknown in those cultures. Simply put, this is ValuesDissonance. It is ''entirely'' possible for a person in an arranged marriage to develop love for their spouse as time passes, and, in RealLife, many do. Besides, if networking can find you jobs and new friends, why not try it for finding a spouse? It might be more successful than doing it yourself—an idea supported by that nearly-50% divorce rate.

to:

For that matter, how about AnachronicOrder? The story does not need to be told in the normal manner. Music/ViennaTeng has a song called "[[http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=vienna+teng+recessional Recessional]]" which tells the love story backwards. An insane composer of musical theater named Jason Robert Brown decided to do both orders at once, and penned ''Theatre/TheLastFiveYears''. It's about a man and a woman who fall in love, get married and eventually divorce, but the difference between them is that all of Cathy's scenes take place BackToFront, whereas Jamie's happen in the normal order. (Brown elaborated on this structure by making every single song a monologue, with the other character not present, or at least not allowed to respond. It also creates even more energy and excitement around the single moment when their timelines cross: cross, on their WeddingDay.) And finally there's ''Film/FiveHundredDaysOfSummer'', which is roughly forward-to-back but does a great deal of skipping around, its narrative sequence more shaken up than a salad.

Because most {{Romance Novel}}s are written by Americans, the ArrangedMarriage doesn't get touched upon much, and when it does it's inevitably a PerfectlyArrangedMarriage. Why does this have to be so? A love story is about two characters discovering that they love each other, regardless of when (or if!) they get married. Now, ''Western'' sensibilities declare this must happen ''before'' the wedding bells ring; MarriageBeforeRomance is basically unknown in those cultures. Simply put, this is ValuesDissonance. It is ''entirely'' possible for a person in an arranged marriage to develop love for their spouse as time passes, and, in RealLife, many do. Besides, if networking can find you jobs and new friends, why not try it for finding a spouse? It might be more successful than doing it yourself—an idea supported by that nearly-50% divorce rate.
yourself (as some of those divorcees might remind you).
17th Mar '16 5:14:50 PM pianokun
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There is room for a sort of "inside-out love story." Romances typically focus on BoyMeetsGirl and what happens next. But for most people, meeting the [=wo/man=] of your dreams isn't the first act of the story; it's the ''last'', and there's a great deal of set-up, CharacterDevelopment and {{Foreshadowing}} leading up to it. So how about a story that goes by that pattern?—that ''ends'' with the BoyMeetsGirl, and instead focuses on what happens ''before'', and on what makes the two characters compatible? If you think it's impossible, I advise you to check out ''Series/HowIMetYourMother''. Ted doesn't meet The Mother until the series finale, and the prior nine years are spent setting up, in detail, his Chemistry and Compatibility needs. The story isn't about how Ted fell in love with her, but ''why''. And it works, because--again--romance is all about personality. Since we already know that Ted and The Mother are perfect for each other, the HappilyEverAfter is a ForegoneConclusion (even aside from how the title of the show is a WalkingSpoiler).[[note]]Or, at least, it ''should've'' been a ForegoneConclusion. But then, that's why the ''HIMYM'' series finale is one of the most controversial endings in recent memory.[[/note]] Additionally, while Ted spends a lot of time dating the [[WrongGirlFirst Wrong Girl(s) First]], the thing is that this is ''very'' much TruthInTelevision. When you get down to it, dating is all ''about'' dating the wrong people first, and figuring out ''why'' they are wrong for you. After all, you can't find your OneTrueLove if you have no idea what they should be like. (Unless you live in a fairy tale where you can expect your soulmate to drop into your lap. [[CaptainObvious Most people don't]].)

to:

There is room for a sort of "inside-out love story." Romances typically focus on BoyMeetsGirl and what happens next. But for most people, meeting the [=wo/man=] of your dreams isn't the first act of the story; it's the ''last'', and there's a great deal of set-up, CharacterDevelopment and {{Foreshadowing}} leading up to it. So how about a story that goes by that pattern?—that ''ends'' with the BoyMeetsGirl, and instead focuses on what happens ''before'', and on what makes the two characters compatible? If you think it's impossible, I advise you to check out ''Series/HowIMetYourMother''. Ted doesn't meet The Mother until the series finale, and the prior nine years are spent setting up, in detail, his Chemistry and Compatibility needs. The story isn't about how Ted fell in love with her, but ''why''. And it works, because--again--romance is all about personality. Since we already know that Ted and The Mother are perfect for each other, the HappilyEverAfter is a ForegoneConclusion (even aside from how the title of the show is a WalkingSpoiler).[[note]]Or, at least, it ''should've'' been a ForegoneConclusion. But then, that's why the ''HIMYM'' series finale is one of the most controversial endings in recent memory.[[/note]] Additionally, while Ted spends a lot of time dating the [[WrongGirlFirst Wrong Girl(s) First]], the thing is that this is ''very'' much TruthInTelevision. When you get down to it, dating is all ''about'' dating the wrong people first, and figuring out ''why'' they are wrong for you. After all, you can't find your OneTrueLove if you have no idea what they should be like. (Unless you live in a fairy tale where you can expect your soulmate to drop into your lap. [[CaptainObvious Most people don't]].)



The RedStringOfFate is a visual motif that has long been associated with love in Asian cultures. The heart symbol is a good one. There's flower motifs, for there is a language of flowers.Supposedly, giving a woman daisies means something else than giving her roses. You could play with WesternZodiac or EasternZodiac themes. And there's always The RuleOfSymbolism, which works on ''anything''. You could make a peach mean sex. You could also make it mean "[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invisible_Pink_Unicorn Invisible Pink Unicorn]]." ItsUpToYou.

to:

The RedStringOfFate is a visual motif that has long been associated with love in Asian cultures. The heart symbol is a good one. There's flower motifs, for there is a language of flowers. Supposedly, giving a woman daisies means something else than giving her roses. You could play with WesternZodiac or EasternZodiac themes. And there's always The RuleOfSymbolism, which works on ''anything''. You could make a peach mean sex. You could also make it mean "[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invisible_Pink_Unicorn Invisible Pink Unicorn]]." ItsUpToYou.
17th Mar '16 5:13:46 PM pianokun
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The RedStringOfFate is a visual motif that has long been associated with love in Asian cultures. The heart symbol is a good one. Umm, there's flower motifs, for there is a language of flowers; for flowers are peculiarly the poetry of Christ.[[note]]If you get that reference, you're awesome. Benjamin Britten-that IS pretty obscure![[/note]]Supposedly, giving a woman daisies means something else than giving her roses. You could play with WesternZodiac or EasternZodiac themes. And there's always The RuleOfSymbolism, which works on ''anything''. You could make a peach mean sex. You could also make it mean "[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invisible_Pink_Unicorn Invisible Pink Unicorn]]." ItsUpToYou.

to:

The RedStringOfFate is a visual motif that has long been associated with love in Asian cultures. The heart symbol is a good one. Umm, there's There's flower motifs, for there is a language of flowers; for flowers are peculiarly the poetry of Christ.[[note]]If you get that reference, you're awesome. Benjamin Britten-that IS pretty obscure![[/note]]Supposedly, flowers.Supposedly, giving a woman daisies means something else than giving her roses. You could play with WesternZodiac or EasternZodiac themes. And there's always The RuleOfSymbolism, which works on ''anything''. You could make a peach mean sex. You could also make it mean "[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invisible_Pink_Unicorn Invisible Pink Unicorn]]." ItsUpToYou.
4th Mar '16 4:15:00 PM slvstrChung
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For that matter, how about AnachronicOrder? The story does not need to be told in the normal manner. Music/ViennaTeng has a song called "[[http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=vienna+teng+recessional Recessional]]" which tells the love story backwards. An insane composer of musical theater named Jason Robert Brown decided to do both at once, and penned ''Theatre/TheLastFiveYears''. It's about a man and a woman who fall in love, get married and eventually divorce, but the difference between them is that all of Cathy's scenes take place BackToFront, whereas Jamie's happen in the normal order. (Brown elaborated on this structure by making every single song a monologue, with the other character not present, or at least not allowed to respond. It also creates even more energy and excitement around the single moment when their timelines cross: on their WeddingDay.) And finally there's ''Film/500DaysOfSummer'', which is roughly forward-to-back but does a great deal of skipping around.

to:

For that matter, how about AnachronicOrder? The story does not need to be told in the normal manner. Music/ViennaTeng has a song called "[[http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=vienna+teng+recessional Recessional]]" which tells the love story backwards. An insane composer of musical theater named Jason Robert Brown decided to do both at once, and penned ''Theatre/TheLastFiveYears''. It's about a man and a woman who fall in love, get married and eventually divorce, but the difference between them is that all of Cathy's scenes take place BackToFront, whereas Jamie's happen in the normal order. (Brown elaborated on this structure by making every single song a monologue, with the other character not present, or at least not allowed to respond. It also creates even more energy and excitement around the single moment when their timelines cross: on their WeddingDay.) And finally there's ''Film/500DaysOfSummer'', ''Film/FiveHundredDaysOfSummer'', which is roughly forward-to-back but does a great deal of skipping around.
around, its narrative sequence more shaken up than a salad.
4th Mar '16 4:10:59 PM slvstrChung
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There is room for a sort of "inside-out love story." Romances typically focus on BoyMeetsGirl and what happens next. But for most people, meeting the [=wo/man=] of your dreams isn't the first act of the story; it's the ''last'', and there's a great deal of set-up, CharacterDevelopment and {{Foreshadowing}} leading up to it. So how about a story that goes by that pattern?—that ''ends'' with the BoyMeetsGirl, and instead focuses on what happens ''before'', and on what makes the two characters compatible? If you think it's impossible, I advise you to check out ''Series/HowIMetYourMother''. Ted doesn't meet The Mother until the series finale, and the prior nine years are spent setting up, in detail, his Chemistry and Compatibility needs. The story isn't about how Ted fell in love with her, but ''why''. And it works, because--again--romance is all about personality. Once we've met The Mother and seen that she and Ted have chemistry, and once they meet each other, the HappilyEverAfter is a ForegoneConclusion (even aside from how the title of the show is a WalkingSpoiler). For that matter, how about AnachronicOrder? Music/ViennaTeng has a song called "[[http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=vienna+teng+recessional Recessional]]" which tells the love story backwards, and there's further room in this narrative space if you want to exploit it.

to:

There is room for a sort of "inside-out love story." Romances typically focus on BoyMeetsGirl and what happens next. But for most people, meeting the [=wo/man=] of your dreams isn't the first act of the story; it's the ''last'', and there's a great deal of set-up, CharacterDevelopment and {{Foreshadowing}} leading up to it. So how about a story that goes by that pattern?—that ''ends'' with the BoyMeetsGirl, and instead focuses on what happens ''before'', and on what makes the two characters compatible? If you think it's impossible, I advise you to check out ''Series/HowIMetYourMother''. Ted doesn't meet The Mother until the series finale, and the prior nine years are spent setting up, in detail, his Chemistry and Compatibility needs. The story isn't about how Ted fell in love with her, but ''why''. And it works, because--again--romance is all about personality. Once we've met Since we already know that Ted and The Mother and seen that she and Ted have chemistry, and once they meet are perfect for each other, the HappilyEverAfter is a ForegoneConclusion (even aside from how the title of the show is a WalkingSpoiler). WalkingSpoiler).[[note]]Or, at least, it ''should've'' been a ForegoneConclusion. But then, that's why the ''HIMYM'' series finale is one of the most controversial endings in recent memory.[[/note]] Additionally, while Ted spends a lot of time dating the [[WrongGirlFirst Wrong Girl(s) First]], the thing is that this is ''very'' much TruthInTelevision. When you get down to it, dating is all ''about'' dating the wrong people first, and figuring out ''why'' they are wrong for you. After all, you can't find your OneTrueLove if you have no idea what they should be like. (Unless you live in a fairy tale where you can expect your soulmate to drop into your lap. [[CaptainObvious Most people don't]].)

For that matter, how about AnachronicOrder? The story does not need to be told in the normal manner. Music/ViennaTeng has a song called "[[http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=vienna+teng+recessional Recessional]]" which tells the love story backwards, backwards. An insane composer of musical theater named Jason Robert Brown decided to do both at once, and penned ''Theatre/TheLastFiveYears''. It's about a man and a woman who fall in love, get married and eventually divorce, but the difference between them is that all of Cathy's scenes take place BackToFront, whereas Jamie's happen in the normal order. (Brown elaborated on this structure by making every single song a monologue, with the other character not present, or at least not allowed to respond. It also creates even more energy and excitement around the single moment when their timelines cross: on their WeddingDay.) And finally there's further room in this narrative space if you want to exploit it.
''Film/500DaysOfSummer'', which is roughly forward-to-back but does a great deal of skipping around.
16th Jan '16 8:21:29 PM Eievie
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While most romances have focused on a man and a woman--say, one of the RomanceGenreHeroes who meets one of the RomanceGenreHeroines--today those rules are bending, and guy-on-guy and girl-on-girl is becoming more acceptable. Heck, today it doesn't even have to be only two people! Of course, there will be outcry from MoralGuardians if you choose to go in those directions; but there's NoSuchThingAsBadPublicity, so maybe this is something you'll want to invoke. Having said ''that'', remember that most readers treat the RomanceNovel as comfort food: they want something reassuring and inoffensive, as opposed to being challenged to their core. There's a time and a place for everything, and a love story may not be the right place to try and make people re-evaluate themselves. (Feel free to take that as a challenge.)

to:

While most romances have focused on a man and a woman--say, one of the RomanceGenreHeroes who meets one of the RomanceGenreHeroines--today those rules are bending, and guy-on-guy and girl-on-girl is becoming more acceptable. Heck, today it [[{{Polyamory}} doesn't even have to be only two people! people!]] Of course, there will be outcry from MoralGuardians if you choose to go in those directions; but there's NoSuchThingAsBadPublicity, so maybe this is something you'll want to invoke. Having said ''that'', remember that most readers treat the RomanceNovel as comfort food: they want something reassuring and inoffensive, as opposed to being challenged to their core. There's a time and a place for everything, and a love story may not be the right place to try and make people re-evaluate themselves. (Feel free to take that as a challenge.)
28th Dec '15 4:05:48 AM Morgenthaler
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There is room for a sort of "inside-out love story." Romances typically focus on BoyMeetsGirl and what happens next. But for most people, meeting the [=wo/man=] of your dreams isn't the first act of the story; it's the ''last'', and there's a great deal of set-up, CharacterDevelopment and {{Foreshadowing}} leading up to it. So how about a story that goes by that pattern?—that ''ends'' with the BoyMeetsGirl, and instead focuses on what happens ''before'', and on what makes the two characters compatible? If you think it's impossible, I advise you to check out ''Series/HowIMetYourMother''. Ted doesn't meet The Mother until the series finale, and the prior nine years are spent setting up, in detail, his Chemistry and Compatibility needs. The story isn't about how Ted fell in love with her, but ''why''. And it works, because--again--romance is all about personality. Once we've met The Mother and seen that she and Ted have chemistry, and once they meet each other, the HappilyEverAfter is a ForegoneConclusion (even aside from how the title of the show is a WalkingSpoiler). For that matter, how about AnachronicOrder? ViennaTeng has a song called "[[http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=vienna+teng+recessional Recessional]]" which tells the love story backwards, and there's further room in this narrative space if you want to exploit it.

to:

There is room for a sort of "inside-out love story." Romances typically focus on BoyMeetsGirl and what happens next. But for most people, meeting the [=wo/man=] of your dreams isn't the first act of the story; it's the ''last'', and there's a great deal of set-up, CharacterDevelopment and {{Foreshadowing}} leading up to it. So how about a story that goes by that pattern?—that ''ends'' with the BoyMeetsGirl, and instead focuses on what happens ''before'', and on what makes the two characters compatible? If you think it's impossible, I advise you to check out ''Series/HowIMetYourMother''. Ted doesn't meet The Mother until the series finale, and the prior nine years are spent setting up, in detail, his Chemistry and Compatibility needs. The story isn't about how Ted fell in love with her, but ''why''. And it works, because--again--romance is all about personality. Once we've met The Mother and seen that she and Ted have chemistry, and once they meet each other, the HappilyEverAfter is a ForegoneConclusion (even aside from how the title of the show is a WalkingSpoiler). For that matter, how about AnachronicOrder? ViennaTeng Music/ViennaTeng has a song called "[[http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=vienna+teng+recessional Recessional]]" which tells the love story backwards, and there's further room in this narrative space if you want to exploit it.
30th Nov '15 7:16:09 AM FF32
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Generally, a love story is supposed to fall on the flowery, rainbow-hued end of the SlidingScaleOfIdealismVsCynicism. This doesn't ''have'' to be, but at the very least, The Reader expects a HappilyEverAfter. This is one of the places where writing a love subplot (as opposed to a RomanceNovel) gives the arc more leeway; The Reader will hate you for it, but since saving the world doesn't neccesarily involve getting the girl... (Even better, sometimes involves [[SadisticChoice sacrificing the girl]].)

to:

Generally, a love story is supposed to fall on the flowery, rainbow-hued end of the SlidingScaleOfIdealismVsCynicism.SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism. This doesn't ''have'' to be, but at the very least, The Reader expects a HappilyEverAfter. This is one of the places where writing a love subplot (as opposed to a RomanceNovel) gives the arc more leeway; The Reader will hate you for it, but since saving the world doesn't neccesarily involve getting the girl... (Even better, sometimes involves [[SadisticChoice sacrificing the girl]].)
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http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/article_history.php?article=SoYouWantTo.WriteALoveStory