Sunday, September 4, 2011

Plot: Forbidden Love

Plot: Forbidden Love

Hurray! I'm back. We're moved. My Mom is doing well. I have story ideas from two months of packing and moving and not getting to write. But…I am having trouble with the internet connection. It won't let me visit any of you. Please be patient, I haven't forgotten you and I am working to fix the problem.

Monday's theme, plot.

Today we are talking about Forbidden Love. This is the tragic romance. As many of you might have guessed, forbidden love and other love plots may be interwoven into any book as a sub-plot. It isn't necessary for you to think this is just romance, though romance certainly uses all these plot devises.

What is forbidden love? Today we live in a society much more tolerant of forbidden love and equally less tolerant of what the ancient people thought about forbidden love. For example, many ancient societies tolerated adultery more than our society. Personally, I think that is a great achievement that we are less tolerant, especially for women. Time past, a man could do anything he wanted but a woman couldn't. Although, Ancient Rome and Greece encouraged multiple partners and homosexual love for both men and women. And, the Ancient Egyptian Pharaohs married their own siblings to keep the kingship in the family. Don't get me wrong, I am not advocating for anyone to break a personal moral code. We are talking writing and crafting a story to be compelling and to deal with issues that may not be the writer's personal experience. Yes, in this case friends, write what you don't know. LOL

On with the plot.

There are several types of forbidden love.

You're married with another partner.

You have a thing for your sister or brother, mother or father, and you act one it.

Homosexual love:
Men with men and women with women.

May - December romances:
Either sex is retirement age or older and the other is just out of their teens. Of course, it isn't necessarily that extreme. I'd say a good twenty to thirty year gap between the two is traditional.

In every example you don't necessarily have bedroom scenes. Sex isn't the only component.

Ask yourself this:
What is it that drives my character into the arms of the antagonist or minor character in forbidden love?

This is about tension, psychology, inner turmoil, what the partners give to one another, or don't give. The characters should learn something about themselves and the world. In each case, 99% of stories written about forbidden love end in tragedy. One or more of the characters die or are injured to the point of disability.

Act 1:
Establish your characters and introduce the future lovers to each other. What is it that draws them to one another? What society taboo are they about to break.

Act 2:
We enter the reason for each other, the heart of their interest. All is well. By the end or act 2, something happens to drive a wedge between the two. Either the world begins to interfere, their families and friends, or something with each of them or one of them affects the relationship.

Act 3:
One or both die or are permanently disabled by someone or something. Society has stepped in or a spouse. Something is preventing their relationship from continuing. Of course, you can break this rule and write a happy ending instead.

There are many stories out there about forbidden love. Oedipus, who ended up killing his own father who was king and marrying his own mother who is queen because it was prophesied he would and the king had sent him away as a child. Romeo and Juliet and similar stories. Their families are feuding. Quasimodo and Esmeralda in The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Adultery; we have, Madame Bovary who seeks love outside her marriage. The Scarlet Letter and Anna Karenina to name just a few. Death in Venice is the tragic end of an older man who loves a young boy. Harold and Maude is an example of May - December love where the woman is older than the man. A real life example is Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore. Ask yourself this, will this love end in tragedy? Probably not unless you are into children. Ashton will never have his own unless they elect a donor Mom.

I could go on, but I am sure you're well aware of the boss and secretary scenario and the unfortunate student/teacher affair that seems to pop up yearly in the news.

Next week we will explore the plot: Sacrifice.

To read more about this and any other master plot pick up the book, 20 Master Plots and how to build them, by Ronald B. Tobias.

Are you writing about forbidden love or do you plan to add this tension packed plot idea to a future work?



Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Nancy .. glad to hear your mother is better or easier with life, and that you're in and getting settled.

Good luck with the rest of the sorting .. cheers Hilary

Jules said...

Glad all is well and that the internet is to blame for lack of hearing from you.

As to forbidden love... never heard it called "May - December" before, I always thought of that as, "robbing the cradle." :)
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

N. R. Williams said...

Thank you Hilary.

Hi Jules.
Yes, May - Dec. is robbing the cradle, LOL. I will try to visit everyone again today.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Glad you're back, Nancy!
Where would you classify social status issues? (Or something to that effect?)

N. R. Williams said...

I'll answer your question Alex in a post provided my internet service will allow it.

nutschell said...

I'm glad your move went well and that your mother is okay. I'm happy to see you back on the blogosphere--especially since I've just recently come back as well. :D