Is it A Love story Or A Romance?

 

Heartbreak ahead in a love story! Photo by Kerry Sikkema.

The classic definer of a love story is the film Love Story starring Ali Mc Graw and Ryan O’ Neal. It is based on the popular book by Erich Segal. It is a real tearjerker, with the beautiful young couple parted by death. It is a tragedy and almost all of the love stories considered great have sad or tragic endings.

Here are some examples taken from films and books. Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, Boris Pasternak’s Dr Zhivago, Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, filmed and updated as West Side Story. Othello. More recently Iain Mc Ewan’s Atonement, John Green’s  The Fault in Our Stars.JoJo Moyes Me Before You, M.C Steadman’s The Light Between Oceans. And Cecelia Ahern’s  Ps. I Love you, and of course ,my all-time favourite Casablanca.

What can be more romantic than Paris?

Romances are different- they promise a reading experience or viewing experience that focuses primarily on the relationship between the couple or as Romance Writers of America says, “Two basic elements comprise every romance novel: a central love story and an emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending.”

Or in simpler terms you are pretty much promised a happy ending and if not a happy ever after, at least the reader gets the happy for now ending.So if we know the ending why do we read romance?

We read for the journey, for the twists and turns of the relationship. A happy ending may be promised but getting there is half the fun. Who doesn’t love a flawed hero or heroine? Or beautiful couple too blind to see that they are destined for each other? Real-life can be dull and bland, but romances are exciting, sexy and fun. It’s far safer to have a fictional lover than a real one. Romance writers are endlessly inventive and contrive new ways for couples to meet and fall in love.

Romance from Unsplash

Examples of romances are Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen and of course, it’s spin off’s Bridget Jones’ s Diary by Helen Fielding and the films Pride and Prejudice and Bride and Prejudice as well as the Bridget Jones trilogy of films. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte is a great read and has been filmed several times The fairy tales Cinderella and The Sleeping Beauty.

Some romance movies are Romancing the Stone, Breakfast at Tiffany’s( but not the book which ends differently) Moonstruck, Brokeback Mountain( a guy to guy romance) Ella Enchanted and a real oldie but a goodie  It Happened One Night.Another of my favourite films Love Actually spans both genres as it has both love stories with sad ending and romances with happy ones.

Why do you read romance and who are your favourite authors? Let me know!

 

Are You Writing A Romance or a Love Story?

abstract analog art camera
Watching movies can provide inspiration.

Many people are unsure of the difference between a love story and a romance. So often what we think of as romances are actually love stories or stories with love story elements

I began to realise this when  I watched that great movie Casablanca, it has stood the test of time, and many people reference it as one of their favourite films. It was one of my parents and now it is one of mine. The film was made in 1942- when the outcome of the war was uncertain.it is often referred to as a romantic drama but in my opinion, it is a love story.

 

The dialogue is crisp and often witty, ( written mostly by the Epstein brothers) the music haunting ( As Time Goes By) but most of all its the way the story plays out that gets our pulses racing. Rick ( Humphrey Bogart)loves Ilsa,( Ingrid Bergman ) Ilsa loves Rick, they met in Paris the most romantic of cities.  Unknown to Rick  Ilsa is married to Victor Laszlo( Paul Henreid), a resistance leader, who she believes is dead. Rick waits for Ilsa at the Paris railway station as promised as the Germans enter Paris, but Ilsa never arrives. Rick escapes and ends up running a bar in Morocco. It’s a shady place where expats, smugglers, locals and Germans all socialise. Worldly wise and cynical Rick is shocked when Ilsa who is with Lazlo asks Sam to play ‘As time goes by’ a song Rick never wanted to hear again. He storms up to Sam and sees Ilsa. Laszlo and she are trying to get to Lisbon but need visas and Rick’s is the place to get them.

Morocco Vince Gx Unsplash
Morocco by Vince Gx.Unsplash.

 

Will Rick allow the woman he loves to leave again? Has she stopped loving him, was it all a lie? She wants to be with him, but Laszlo loves her too and would be devastated to lose her. After a night when Rick & Ilsa may or may not have got back together,(unclear thanks to US censorship at the time.) it’s up to the audience to decide. Will Rick and Ilsa be together as he has led her to believe? In the final scenes at the airport, Rick has the names Mr & Mrs Victor Laszlo written onto the visa. Will he walk off with Ilsa leaving Laszlo to his likely fate? He gives Laszlo the visas and tells Ilsa ‘We’ll always have Paris’ and that Laszlo and she are fighting for a much greater cause and if she left with Rick, she would always regret it.

silhouettes of couple kissing against sunset
Photo by Snapwire on Pexels.com

With its bittersweet ending, Casablanca is a love story. If it was a romance the relationship of Rick and Ilsa would be centre stage  to the exclusion of all else and they would somehow end up ‘happily ever after.’

While the romantics might wish it, it would be a far less compelling piece of cinema and would not appeal to our higher natures in the same way.

While I would have loved to share images from the film I could not breach copyright. You can easily find them online anyway.

Other love stories are Wuthering Heights,  Romeo and Juliet, Gone with the Wind is historical drama with a love story element as is the film Titanic.

 

close up of tree against sky
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Currently, I am writing romance and romance comes with the promise of a ‘happily ever after’ or at least ‘ happy for now’. This isn’t to say that a romance cannot have problems and complexities, indeed it should, but to say that in a romantic story love must always triumph.

 

 

Could It Be ‘A Concentration of Writers?’

It was my turn to lead the writing group this week and I added an impromptu exercise asking the eleven members for suggestions what they might call a group of writers.

A’ concentration of writers’?

Here is what they came up with.

A turmoil of writers.        A frustration of writers.

A consolation of writers.    A genius of writers.

A vocabulary of writers.     A complication of writers.

A concentration of writers.  A conundrum of writers

A festival of writers.              A brainstorm of writers.

Missing connection with the wider world writing can be a lonely business.

A composition of writers.       A library of writers.

A compendium of writers.      A mind block of writers.

A quietness of writers.             A uniqueness of writers.

A hodgepodge of writers.         A glorious mystery of writers.

A conference of writers            A convergence of writers.

Do any speak to you?

Let me know your thoughts and suggestions.

 

 

Is It A Cacophony of Writers?

Attending the Rockingham Writers Conference this weekend, I thought what a gregarious and chatty crowd we were. So different from the stereotypical introverted, social outcasts we are supposed to be.Taking notes was only part of teh conference mixign and mingling was as well.

Individually these were people who admitted to self-doubt, imposter syndrome, insecurity, fear of failure and fear of success.

That day though, all that was put aside, and we had a ball, laughed and talked mingled, shared expertise and gossip. I left the conference buoyed with confidence and thrilled with my writer tribe.

Sharing a common interest forms a bond.
What is the collective noun for a group of writers?

Then I began to wonder what a group of writers was called. I couldn’t recall an official term, so I did an internet search. I got  ‘a worship of writers. ’  To me, that seemed more fitting for priests, so I began to think of collective nouns for writers.

Here are some I  liked

A chapter of writers.

A procrastination of writers

A draft of writers

An insecurity of writers

An imagination of writers

A  scribble of writers

A cacophony of writers

A gossip of writers

A journal of writers.

 

Do you have a favourite term for a group of writers?

Let me know!

 

 

 

 

The Contradictions of Being a Writer.

Many of the writers I know are a mass of contradictions, it left me wondering if this was an important part of a writer’s personality.

Writing can be an isolating occupation

The majority admit to being Shy or even Not Very Social and then they go out a give a presentation or an author talk or if you meet them at a writers’ convention and can’t get them to shut up! The lonely Introvert turns into a Show Pony. I myself know I  am guilty of this.

Conventions bring a mix of people together.

A  majority of writers suffer from Self-doubt and Insecurity.  Along with other creative types, many will admit to suffering from Imposter Syndrome. At times this manifests as a bout of  Crippling Insecurity with the fear of not being good enough accomplished enough. talented enough.

In spite of that, most managed to overcome it and submit their work to a critique partner, or even a contest or publisher.  If the work is accepted, after the initial rush of pride or satisfaction, it’s likely that self-doubt will surface once again.  Yet some compulsion drives us on, to write more, to try again to try and fail, to try and succeed, to improve.

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Courage to follow your dream

So what my fellow writers also have is courage, the courage to express themselves. To let their work speak for them, to expose their ideas to the judgement of others. My fellow writers, I  salute you for your bravery!

 

 

 

Dandelion Clocks Always Remind Me of Writers.

Dandelion Background.jpg

Who doesn’t remember the fun of blowing the seeds away from the seed head of a dandelion clock? Sometimes they would all fly free; one huge puff of air and they’d be gone. At other times they clung tenaciously, requiring more effort to dislodge them.

bloom blossom close up dandelion
Each one a wish!

Several writing events are on my horizon, author talks and workshops and a writer’s conference. I am inspired by the dandelion clock in my belief that writers are stronger together. There is strength in numbers. Much like the seed head holds its shape, because they are together.

When a writer gives a talk -they are sharing their knowledge, saying what worked for them, their processes. Learning about other writers, their joys and difficulties can inspire us as writers. To try something different, to do more, to do less.

girl holding dandelion flower
Photo by Thgusstavo Santana on Pexels.com

A writers’ conference is a great example individual writers, coming together to exchange ideas, learn new skills and laugh and share information. They will drift apart at the end of the conference much like the winged dandelion pods.  But all will have benefited from being part of the collective. Maybe they made a new contact, leant a new skill or found a solution to a sticky writing problem.

In our writer’s  ‘clusters’ we are in a space which allows us the freedom to express ourselves. We are among friends, ones who know how difficult it can be to find the right words.

 

Lost connections.

For the past three weeks I have been without an internet connection, which failed and I had to get it fixed.At the same time my desktop computer crashed in an unexpected additonal blow.

While I waited I reflected on how helpless and isolated I felt. I was missing that oh so vital  sense of connection. No emails, no Facebook, no easy fact checking.

So  Hello again! It’s good to be back, the time away has given me more reading time and also a time to think about writing the sequel to my book

This reflective time helped me connect with the Viking characters in my book Fire & Ice. They lived quite isolated lives.Typically Vikings had a ‘raiding season’ which went from April to October, after which the seas were deemed too dangerous.So a man could be away from home and out of reach for all that time.

Imagine having no contact with loved ones for six or seven months at a time. It reinforced to me the fact that Viking women were tough and expected to cope on their own.12717985_693505940789229_7895077439568121178_nI also found out that if male Viking did not return home at least once every three years, his wife had the choice to divorce him for desertion,