February 10, 2014
Today’s Writers’ Tip
WRITING FICTION PLOTS
Plot Number 14: LOVE
Pride and Prejudice
The Ghost and Mrs. Muir
My Fair Lady
LOVE: there are thousands and thousands of books published in this subgenre every year. Folks, mainly we gals, love to curl up on our sofa with a cup of coffee, a blanket, and a good love story and take a trip into a world that we all wish we could visit often or take permanent residence.
So what makes a “can’t put this book down” excellent love story? Is the plot a simple “girl meets boy, girl loves boy, girl loses boy, girl finds boy again” with an “ah” ending? Let’s take a closer look at how to write a best seller in this subgenre:
- The prospect of new, budding love is met with a major obstacle.
- The main characters might want love, but they can’t have it for a variety of reasons, at least not right away.
- The lovers are usually ill-suited in some way. They could come from different social classes (beauty queen/ nerd) or they might be physically unequal (one is blind or handicapped).
- The first attempt to solve the obstacle is almost always thwarted. Successful love doesn’t come easily and must be proven by loyalty and dedication.
- The one lover usually is more aggressive in seeking love than the other. The aggressive partner is the seeker, who completes the majority of the action. The passive partner (who might want love just as much) waits for the aggressive partner to overcome the obstacles. Either role can be played by either sex.
- Your love story doesn’t have to end happily. If you try to force a happy ending with a love story that clearly doesn’t deserve one, the readers will reject it. Hollywood prefers happy endings, but some of the world’s best love stories (Anna Karenina, Madame Bovary, Romeo and Juliet) are very sad.
- Concentrate on your main characters to make them appealing and convincing. Avoid the stereotypical lovers. Love is one of the hardest subjects to write because it’s been written about so often, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done well. Feel deeply for your characters. If you don’t, neither will your readers.
- Embed deep emotion in your love story. Not only should you be convincing, but you should develop the full range of feelings: fear, hate, attraction, disappointment, conflict, reunion, etc. Love has many feelings associated with it, so be prepared to develop them according to the needs of the plot.
- Understand the role of sentiment and sentimentality then decide which is better for your story. If you’re writing a formula romance, you may want to use the tricks of sentimentality. If you’re trying to write a one-of-a-kind love story, you will want to avoid sentimentality and rely on true sentiment in your character’s feelings.
- Take your lovers through the full ordeal of love. Make sure they are tested (individually and as a couple) and that they finally deserve the love they seek. Love is earned; it is not a gift. Love untested is not true love.
Well, there you have the key elements to write a heart-warming love story. So, if you’re a sentimental soul to begin with, now you have the ammunition to write a deeply moving, tear-jerking tale of “love found, love lost, and love regained.”
Next time we’ll look at the fiction plot that is also very popular, number 15: FORBIDDEN LOVE
All information compliments of:
Tobias, Ronald B (2011-12-15). 20 Master Plots (p. 189). F+W Media, Inc. Kindle Edition.
(I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in writing good fiction in any subgenre!”)
P.S. Interested in a heart-warming Amish love story? Please check out one of my creations:
LOVE SONG FOR LOUELLEN
VOLUME 3 IN THE LOVES OF SNYDER COUNTY
Twenty-five-year-old Amish Louellen Friesen finds herself falling in love with forty-year-old Englishman Dr. David McAndrew, a widower with two children, for whom she cleans house regularly in Mapletown, Snyder County, Pennsylvania. There’s only one problem. Louellen is already married. Well past the “marrying age” at twenty-two, Louellen Bidleman had wed Amish man Eli Friesen three years prior, mostly because of pressure from her family. Eli, also in his mid-twenties and in danger of being “passed over,” had married Louellen for one main reason, to have sons. Louellen has some love for Eli, but because of her church vows, sets out to be the best wife and mother she can be, especially when God blesses them with little ones. However, after three years, there are no children. Louellen is devastated, and Eli becomes bitter, feeling trapped in a marriage that has produced no offspring even though he knows that he has the medical problem, not his wife. Although he treats Louellen civil in public, at home he ignores her needs, and their wedded life is nothing but a disappointment to both. What should Louellen do? Turn her back on her husband and her Amish Ordnung? Should she leave, become “English,” and marry Dr. McAndrew, a man who has promised her the moon?