April 7, 2015

a study in romance


The holiday novella I'm writing for Camp NaNoWriMo is a RomCom. Well, it's Chick Lit with a romantic plot, and I hope it's funny. And maybe that's why I found myself conducting an unplanned, unofficial study or the genre during one of my recent lazy bouts of binge-watching movies on Netflix. It started with rewatching a few of my favorite RomComs, and soon grew into checking out more alternative versions of love stories and even throwing in a few stand-up routines.

My study of romance and humor was kind of a wonderful thing.

While watching "Sleepless in Seattle," I realized I'd never seen "An Affair to Remember." Finding it on Netflix, too, I went for it. Both of these movies are kind of perfect for my story. Both showed how you can build a love story--and tension--by having the main characters apart a good chunk of time. They both showed how one moment of circumstance can change everything. And consequently, I had two real examples of how rewarding the payoff is when you get those two crazy kids together at last.

Then I went off the cuff and watched "Uganda Be Kidding Me" and "Women Aren't Funny." While neither of these will directly influence the story, and the humor isn't quite right for this project, both were kind of a challenge. Even if one person or reviewer (or a whole group of them) doesn't like what you're doing, you have to keep doing you.

I returned to my romance study, and also realized I was on a kick, with "Notting Hill." It's been years since I saw this--the first time was at a slumber party in middle school, which was one of the films that launched my love affair with British movies and TV. This was maybe the first time I've watched this as a genuine adult (because when you're twenty-eight, I suppose it's time to start thinking of yourself as a grownup), and I was struck by some of the little pockets of beauty. The first time I watched the movie, I was so caught up in the romance between William and Anna that I missed out on some of the other love stories with less screen time. Those are what make a movie divine. Then again, Anna and William's story of two people who fall in love despite the obstacles they face, and how they are able to come together regardless, was plenty inspiring.

I finished the weekend by watching "Your Sister's Sister" and "My Week with Marilyn." Both don't exactly qualify as conventional love stories, which was a good thing, because again, it challenged my thinking.

With all of this study behind me, I started Camp last week with lots of inspiration. And while I wish I could say it has been easy getting up to write every day, it's moving along.

Your turn: Where do you find inspiration for your work?


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