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Sunday, May 8, 2016

When is it okay to weep for the guy who doesn't get the gal?

We were watching a Hallmark romance movie and my wife said, “I don’t know who she’ll pick.”

I said, “probably the guy with no visible source of income, but let’s see.”

I was tickled by her remark. My gal reads a ton of romance novels, but she’s not a writer. I knew the who, what, where, when, why, how and throw in some tropes, 10 minutes into the 2 hour (well, maybe 1.5 hours after commercials) movie. The credit for my wife's confusion of who gets the gal, goes to the writer of the screenplay. It used to be and still is in some plots that the guy who will not get the gal, has a really fatal flaw.

Basically, one guy’s a doctor. The other, a struggling and not google-able writer of unspecified fiction (romance*). Both have caring hearts, love her, good senses of humor. Both are handsome. One seems well off; the other not at all.  *The heroine doesn’t read romance, thinks it’s fluff. He writes under and travels with his pen name and persona, a woman, Veronica something (can you ID the tropes here?). His fiction earns awards and nationwide bestseller status (like the ladies of RWASD) and when the heroine finally gets her hands on an example, thanks to her girlfriend— “just read this, maybe you’ll change your mind about some romance”—she loves the tender story.

Tickled? Yes, because I think the longer you can hold the suspense of who-gets-who, the happier and more entertained the reader will be. That’s if you play with a two-guy theme. BTW, Hallmark is doing more and more experimental movies and is trying to hide the obvious happily-ever-after in layers upon layers of conflict and misdirection. But, they can’t fool us, right?

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