Monday, June 13, 2011
Plot: Love, part two
Let's take a look at some happy endings. Hollywood loves happy endings. When I think of romance I think of When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, While You Where Sleeping and many more. These movies are all about when boy meets girl, throw in some silly obstacles, and overcome them to create a fabulous marriage, at least we assume they get married. In When Harry Met Sally, he drove her nuts and vice versa. It wasn't until they each had been deeply hurt that they discovered the things in each other that were positive and supportive. In Sleepless in Seattle it was the distance from each other. In While You Where Sleeping it was the false engagement to one brother while the two characters struggled to understand their feelings. You could also qualify that as a lie.
I love happy endings too. Life can be fraught with loneliness, disappointment, despair and many other negative things. It is so cheerful to go to a movie, relax, have a laugh and remember when love touched your heart.
However, some stories have tragic endings. I brought up Romeo and Juliet last week. Both committed suicide when they were unable to figure out how to be together. In real life, there are stories of how married couples or college sweethearts fall out of love with each other. Perhaps the obstacles in life destroyed their love instead of bringing them closer together. Perhaps one of the characters has an obsessive personality and is abusive. The world is filled with tragic endings. All you need for inspiration is the latest newspaper. Horror films sometimes delve into this sort of relationship or a Suspense Novel might do so. There's a list of films that come to mind for this group too, like Psycho, Virginia Wolf, and many more.
Regardless of which love story you want to tell, a good plot is developed in 3 acts.
We are introduced to two main characters that either meet for the first time or have known each other. They may have been married for years, especially in the sad love story. It is important that you avoid clichés here. It is so easy to rely on a cliché since the love story is as old as man.
The lovers split. Something happens to drive them apart either by design or by the loss of love. One character may go off to a new location for a job or school. A villain may interfere by kidnapping one of the characters or presenting a challenge that the character is drawn into. Perhaps an accident occurs that either cripples one of the characters or causes their death. In the case of love lost, it is the on going story of why the characters no longer love each other and may even hate each other.
The lovers are reunited in the happy ending and in the unhappy ending they have completed the split. If the lovers have overcome an obstacle to be together, then you must demonstrate that their love is stronger than before. If they have made the final split then you must show how that split has affected the lovers. Did one of them die, or did they divorce. Is one of them going to declare, "Free at last…?"
The love plot is a character driven plot. You will either write it with a sentiment or sentimentality view. The first is more original than the last which relies on well established types. 90% of love stories have a happy ending. If this is for the romance genre a happy ending is required by both the publishers and the readers. About 10% of love stories are written about how the characters fell out of love with each other, which can take a very dark twist.
There you have it. Next week the master plot is, Underdog. No, we are not talking about a cartoon character. LOL
For more on this plot and others please read, 20 Master Plots and how to build them, by Ronald B. Tobias, available from your local retailer or at an online store. Or click on the link to Amazon's site and get it there.
Are you writing a love story? What type of story is it? Do you love to read love stories? Which type is your favorite?
(Winner of one of Edie Ramer's books if L. Diane Wolf. Congratulations Diane.)
Have a good week.