Back in November, 2013, I wrote the first draft of a western romance, Willow Tree Tears. Subsequently, it was edited and revised, but to date has not made it into the world. One character is an Italian businessman touring rodeo’s selling his high end leather cowboy boots. Like a bolt of lightening, it hit me that my latest obsession -Michele Morrone would make the perfect actor for this part, if the story was made into a movie. The first scene has my heroine glimpsing a white shirt among the leather and plaid attire of the rodeo crowd.
Of course, I then had to investigate who would play the other characters. This is a fun exercise for many writers and authors, not only because we would love all our novels to become movies, but also it can help us ‘picture’ our characters as we write. These are my options for the other characters.
Colton – ranch manager and high school friend of Madison’s. Secretly in love with Madison.
Madison – champion barrel racer.
Which actors do you think would be best for Madison and Colton?
As we all know the definition of a trope in literary terms is a plot device or character attribute that is used so commonly in a genre that it is commonplace or conventional. I’ve recently been intrigued by the bad boy-good girl trope of romance books and movies, especially trilogies. It may have something to do with a draft manuscript I have on the back burner, which has a bad girl – good boy (you know me I like to switch things up!) It is interesting to see this specific relationship scenario played out, and the complexities of the plots. (Some better and more believable than others!)
I have researched three such movie trilogies/series and have found the basic characters and their flaws and/or strengths to be the very similar in each. Obviously, the plots and character lives are different, but the basic character structures are easily identifiable.
The Kissing Booth
Each one has a damaged, aloof, unattainable male character and also an innocent, charming, loving female character. The love aspect of the relationships are played out with various obstacles, misunderstandings and heart break scenarios. The characters go through intense, fractured and profound changes. The females become stronger and more capable of ‘controlling’ and understanding their love interest, while the male character’s go through a realization process that this specific woman can, in fact, love them for who they are.
So, why go to these lengths, you may ask? Well, there is that draft manuscript languishing in the pile, but also I am working on a trilogy and it is the character development, I am most interested in. Readers want to ‘see’ a character develop and change, overcome obstacles and have some sort of resolution. With trilogies, or indeed, any series, this is the ‘draw’ for a reader. How will the character overcome, manage and ultimately succeed?
With Christian and Anastasia in Fifty Shades – he is emotionally and physically damaged from childhood trauma and he ‘copes’ with punishing his mother look-a-likes in the playroom. Ana shows him there is another way to love and forgive.
With Elle and Noah in The Kissing Booth she breaks the rule of having a relationship with her best friend, Lee’s brother. It is a forbidden love full of secrets, guilt and at times an unattainable relationship. Elle risks her life long friendship with Lee to pursue Noah. The trilogy follows the characters through high school to college.
With Edward and Bella, again there is the unattainable relationship, this time between a vampire and a human. This is the ultimate taboo. Bella is convinced she is destined to be a vampire, but Edward will do anything to protect her from such an existence. The third player is Jacob, a werewolf, which adds to the complexity of the relationship as he is also in love with Bella. The two male character’s have a instinctive, historical hatred for each other, but both will do anything to protect Bella.
As you can see the similarities are obvious with each story with conflicts between the two main characters and their connection to each other, no matter the obstacles.
Can you name another series with this bad boy – good girl scenario?
If you are like me you have a movie running in your head when you read a book. You can ‘see’ the characters, their surroundings and what is happening. As a writer this is a wonderful tool for my stories. I see everything as I write, getting those images onto the paper is the trick.
So when we watch a movie, sometimes an adaptation of a book or a play we have read or watched, we compare what our vision is or was of the story. Sometimes the director and screen writer get it ‘right’, other times they do not. As you all know I am a Stephen King fan and have watched some of the movies made from his novels. The interpretations can be cringe worthy, such as Shelly Duvall in The Shining. I got angry at her scenes, she did not represent the character at all, she ruined that movie for me. Jack Nicholson, of course, was stupendous in his role, as only Jack can. One movie I watched, and re-watched was The Green Mile, it was expertly portrayed. This is most likely due to Mr. King being on set!
This brings me to several movies I re-watch due to their intriguing plot, my emotional response or the actors characterization. I have a basket of DVD’s that contain many movies, I enjoyed a lot. (This is not all of them though, it would be a very long post!)
The Lake House, which was adapted from Il Mare, a 2006 American fantasy romance drama film written by David Auburn. The movie has a time slip element with the two main characters living years apart but communicating through a mailbox.
Educating Rita, an adaptation of a screenplay by Willy Russell based on his 1980 stage play. I love the two opposing characters in this movie, chalk and cheese as they say. However, as their relationship grows there is a metamorphosis.
Shirley Valentine, this is another Willy Russell screenplay adaptations based on his 1986 one-character play. For many women this is the ultimate ‘escape’ movie. Who hasn’t dreamed of living on the ocean?
Ladies in Lavender, another screen play adaptation, this time based on a 1908 short story by William J. Locke. Superb acting by Dame’s Judi Dench and Maggie Smith bring this delightful story to life. There is heart ache, lost love, new passions and secrets. And, for me, the coastline is memories of home.
Julie & Julia, the film is the first major motion picture based on a blog. Giving yourself a deadline or a ‘monumental’ task can have its ups and downs as is plainly obvious in this movie.
Calendar Girls, based on a true story of eleven members of a women’s institute group raising money for a cancer charity with a nude calendar.
Which movies do you enjoy over and over? Are they adaptations?
Last week, I was rather popular with two podcast interviews. The first with A Hot Take on Thursday with Jenna Greene and Miranda Oh and then another with Alive After Reading with Tim Niederriter You can find the links here:
I am continuing with my 2021 goals and have submitted to magazines, contests and anthologies this year. It is not only a learning curve, but also a way to expand my writing skills. Every writing experience increases our skill set and knowledge. As writers we are always learning. (or should be!)
In the last couple of weeks, I have been accepted to be part of an anthology 25 Miles From Here, which will be published in September. My short story A New Home will be included.
I also have three articles published (or scheduled) for Opal Writers Magazine and website, with another pending. These articles allow me to write non-fiction and also share my knowledge with the writing community.
I was also honoured to assist in the promotion of a new movie, Back Home Again. It covers the the wildfire evacuation of Fort McMurray and the communities resilience.
And I was also delighted to win a book giveaway by Densie Webb. A lovely novel arrived in my mailbox, which will be added to my TBR pile.
In preparation for my presentations/panel at the When Words Collide conference, I have invested in a headphone/microphone set. I trialed it as I hosted the monthly Writers Circle on Tuesday evening, it works well. It is more professional and cuts out a lot of background noise too.
My latest book news is four of my books (The Twesome Loop, The Commodore’s Gift, The Rython Kingdom and Rython Legacy) are all available from Daisy Chain Book Co bookstore, Edmonton.
I would love to hear about your writing related accomplishments so far this year?