Tag Archives: romance

How to Write Romantic Fiction.

Study a romance screenplay to find out its secrets.

The 1990 romantic comedy Green Card has it all: premise, plot, pacing; a setting that’s integral to the story; unique, developed characters who experience personality and/or motivation change; tension, conflict and a satisfactory conclusion, although considering what’s deemed traditional for romance writing, it’s not strictly “happily ever after,” or even “happy for now.”

Rom-coms are generally too lightweight for my taste, but this one is unusual, in that it exhibits the kind of intense storytelling that seems to be missing from much modern fiction. Novelists are creators of Written Art, but there’s a crossover into the realm of Visual Art, because the way an author uses words must be able to paint pictures inside readers’ heads.

A writing exercise.

If it’s been a while since you watched Green Card, buy it, borrow it, or dig it out of your video collection. Watch it through once, just to experience the story. Then watch it again, several times, concentrating attention on a different aspect of the story, as listed above. Take notes, using as much sensory detail as possible. Then answer the following questions:

  • How would you describe the street scenes and interior scenes, from a narrator’s point-of-view?
  • What details would you include about the characters’ bodies, behavior, expressions and tones of voice?
  • In Green Card, the two main characters are forced to focus on one another. How would you describe the way the main characters feel as they experience change in their perceptions of the other person?
  • How would you describe the way the main characters experience change in their perceptions of themselves?
  • How would you communicate in words the rising tension between the characters? (The background music in the soundtrack contributes to this, so you might turn off the volume, the better to catch the visible cues.)

You don’t have to re-write the whole script, just the parts that impressed you the most. If you know where your writing has trouble with constructing convincing scenes, you can focus on the film’s scenes that illustrate solutions to similar problems.

It’s an exercise in people-watching, which is really the way fiction should be written: as if the writer was observing some inhabitants of the Parallel Universe, and reporting on what is seen and heard, and how those things make the writer feel.

Finally, look at your own work-in-progress, especially if it’s a love story or has a romance sub-plot. What can you do to make your novel’s interpersonal scenes appears as vividly in a reader’s imagination, as the actors brought Peter Weir’s script to life on the screen?

 

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To All My Loyal Readers….

Out in the Parallel Universe, it’s been eleven years since American genealogist Lana Pedersen climbed through the kitchen window in Drumcarroll farmhouse, the ancestral home of Irish journalist Dillon Carroll, and into a series of romantic adventures that she’d never imagined having. About two years later, after Lana’s dust had settled, a Muse traveled from the Parallel Universe to our Universe, and told me to start writing Lana’s story.

That was an adventure I never imagined having: experience of documenting what happened to Lana when she arrived on the inside of that window. The result was a minor-epic-length multi-genre novel, which I published in its current edition five years ago this month: Irish Firebrands.

Irish Firebrands, second printing, available worldwide in hardback and paperback.

Some may wonder why I chose that name for the book. Well, the story is full of firebrands who contributed the sparks that turned Lana’s genealogical research trip to Ireland into a wildfire she couldn’t control: Dillon, Frank, Medb – even Dillon’s deceased father and his friend, Fr Ó Tuathail.

Others may wonder, if the story is a romantic adventure, why I didn’t choose a conventional bared-bodies piece of cover art. Well, it’s not that kind of romance. Irish Firebrands is literary fiction, and the love story is only one of several inflammatory subplots it contains; thus the painting of a Celtic cross grave marker (suggesting Lana’s profession) on the background of a fiery sunset (suggesting the trouble she gets into).

And what has a wellie filled with wildflowers to do with all this? Well, Lana has two love interests, both of whom are classic bad boys, one of whom turns out to be the nice guy who finishes last. It was only when I wrote “The End” that I found out for sure which one was which – but that’s what I get for being an organic writer (a “pantser,” not a “planner”): I was the novel’s first reader, and every chapter held in store another surprise. Even now, when I re-read Irish Firebrands, I’m astonished that such a story could have emerged from my own fingertips.

 

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Fifth Anniversary Cover Reveal!

Coming soon: the 5th Anniversary Second (and Third) Printings of Irish Firebrands!

The Second Printing (paperback) has been divided into two volumes: easier to hold, smaller to pack, lighter to carry!

 

The Third Printing (deluxe hardcover with dust jacket) features a bonus central illustration section that includes floor plan sketches, drawn while the novel was being written to help block out scenes (a holdover from my ancient university days on the stage).

Hardcover dust jacket.

Both printings will be sold by Lulu Press, as well as Ingram distribution, and the Barnes & Noble and Amazon online retail outlets.

🙂
Discounts will be available on books purchased from Lulu.
🙂

Note: For a limited time, the single-volume paperback First Printing will continue to be available from Amazon. The plan is to replace it with a US English edition and different cover art. (It’s possible for a book’s First Printing with the original cover art to accrue value in the resale market, especially among specialty collectors, such as aficionados of Irish fiction.) At present, Smashwords original ebook distribution remains unaffected.

Support for Independent Author-Publishers

No matter how much Indies enjoy writing, it’s still a job, and Indie authorship deserves to earn fair revenues. Books which are in global distribution systems and sold via mass retailers net Indie authors only pennies, because of the wholesale price cuts that mass retailers take. Direct purchases from an Indie author’s Print-on-Demand eStore (such as the Lulu Press Store) yield higher net revenue, enabling exclusive author-sponsored discounts for customers. (Mass retailer Amazon’s discontinuation of the CreateSpace eStore has greatly eroded Indie Author earnings, making author-sponsored discounts impossible.) When possible, please purchase Indie-authored books directly from POD stores.

(Covers digitally reproduced here may vary in color from actual printed copies. The original text of Irish Firebrands is written in Commonwealth English. These printings vary from the original only in that minor text errors were corrected. The interior illustrations, new cover art and different bindings are incidental changes that do not affect the existing registered copyright. Irish Firebrands © 2012 Christine Plouvier. All Rights Reserved. )

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