Romance Movie Redundancy

HAPPY SAINT VALENTINES DAY EVERYONE!

As activists and those who don’t have dates say… Happy Manufactured Holiday that has nothing to do with anything (which isn’t true), except selling candy and flowers!!!

Anyway, I wanted to comment on love stories, particularly in the visual medium. Now before I get started, I’m not talking about ALL romantic movies. Ones like say… The Proposal and Just Like Heaven are funny as Hell. Heck even the end credits of the Proposal is hilarious:

“What is her favorite color?”
“Her favorite color is blue.”
“What is her favorite color when she’s not at home.”
“… I don’t know!”

That makes me laugh every time. If you haven’t seen this movie, don’t be fooled by the whole ‘Chick Flick’ concept. It is a very funny movie.

I’m talking about the phoned in ones that all seem to have the same plot line… and God damn there are a lot of them!

So what is this basic plot?
Character 1 (Guy or Girl) is engaged and seemingly happy in their life.
Character 1 meets character 2 who is usually either very unorthodox or someone character 1 knew from their youth.
Character 1 spends time with character 2… arguably a lot more time than they spend with their own fiance’ in the movie.
The fiance has something going on either illegal, amoral, or unethical.
Character 1 discovers this and leave their fiance, ending up with character 2.

We’ve seen this done over and over and over again:
Titanic
When Harry Met Sally
Made of Honor
Someone Like You
Some Kind of Wonderful
The Wedding Singer
Can’t Hardly Wait
The Wedding Planner

Just to name a few…

I know that there are other plot cliches out there that romantic movies tend to fall into, but in my opinion, this is the most glaring. Not only that, but it’s also the most unrealistic and MOST AWFUL!

For starters, this is one of those plots that would be an absolute nightmare if it ever happened in real life. Often times the climax of the movie occurs days if not weeks before the wedding. Which means all the money that was put into the Wedding, all the money spent by people coming to the Wedding, and all the effort put in has been thoroughly WASTED!

Another problem with this kind of plot line is when the writers clearly have no idea what they’re doing. You’ll see it every now and again… throughout the entire movie the fiance or significant other is a totally awesome person. They’re perfect in every way for the main character in every way until right near the end, apparently the writers forgot that this person was supposed to be the antagonist, so they instantaneously bring up a plot point that is way out of character and completely out of left field that no one was expecting in order to make the lead less of a horrible person for turning away from them.

Disney’s Frozen in a lesser way is actually guilty of this.

Not only that, but the movies almost NEVER deal with the ramifications of the main character’s actions. What about the embarrassment and/or feelings of the person who is being spurned. Are we just not supposed to care about them because of a forced plot point?

Or worse… the character is actually OKAY WITH STEPPING ASIDE! As if this would ever happen.

Personally, I usually find myself cheering for that person. It may be bitter, but I’ve always envisioned the lead character who turned around and left their original significant other getting screwed over and/or cheated on by the person they chose to be with… Because if that person is okay with sneaking around with a person who’s already spoken for… what other unethical/amoral things are they capable of?

Jim… remember what you said about Fantasy?

Yes I know. That doesn’t mean that I have to enjoy every single story cliche and it certainly doesn’t mean that I can call out whenever someone does it over and over. On top of that, I said that I was a realist and try my best to make my stories believable in some way. These are not.

Now again, not all romance movies are like this. Heck, not even all BAD romance movies are like this…

220px-the_vow_poster.jpg

Yeah I’m not even getting into these, especially not the first one. The lack of creativity on the poster should say it all.

If you REALLY want me to rant about one of these… see my review of The Vow, a movie that to this DAY remains on my top 5 worst movies of all times list for its absolutely deplorable plot. I personally can’t be bothered to get into it again.

Anyway, can anyone name off other movies like that or other movie tropes that they can stand? Let me know.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

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Loveless Pt. 2

I have been in a relationship since 2 years. But since a few months, something is lacking, something is wrong… He has hurt me quite a few times now… But every time, I think I have had enough of it, and I go ahead to talk to him, I fail in doing so… I don’t have the guts to hurt him. I know he loves me, but something is missing.
This is my first relationship. I don’t know what to do. Will I wait? Or do I go talk to him?

Tris Flynn


 

Did I just get roped into becoming a relationship counselor? I don’t think I’m suited for the job. Writing is my area of expertise…

Having said that, I swore I’d never turn someone away asking for help. Tris, PLEASE UNDERSTAND, I am not a professional. I would never claim to be one. I write romance rather heavily into my stories and have seen the best and the worst relationships have to offer. All I can offer you is what I know based on my own experiences. So please understand the limit of my advice.

Okay… First of all, don’t wait. I’m not kidding, do NOT wait. The worst thing you can do is wait. Waiting means that your thoughts and fears are stewing. It gives you too long to think about things and for you to imagine the worst possible outcomes! Go talk to him. Tell him how you feel, lay it on the line. Preface it by saying that you’re not trying to hurt him. See what he says, see how he reacts, and who knows? Maybe something good will come out of it.

If not… if it turns into a fight or nothing comes out of it, then it may be time to walk. You have every right to be happy and consider yourself in this as well. I’m not sure how old you are, but I can tell you that even if the relationship crumbles, there will be other ones. That I promise you.

Again and as I say to everyone;
If you want to talk about this in more detail, please email me! I’d be happy to talk more.

Thanks friends!
-Jim



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Loveless

“Dear Jim,

I’ve been writing a romantic fantasy story for a while now. Things were going great until I found out that my own relationship is not what I thought it was. I don’t want to go into detail, but he betrayed me with a friend of his. This isn’t the first time that something like this has happened either. I’ve pretty much given up on relationships and trusting other people and was wondering… if you don’t believe in love, how can you write about it?

Appreciate your help,
Trish.”


 

Hi Trish…

I’m really sorry that happened to you. I know from experience what it’s like when the person who is supposed to love you the most turns cold and hurts you. It stings and the pain doesn’t go away. It get’s easier to deal with, but it never goes away.

Anyway… I had another reader who asked about a similar case a few posts ago. Normally, I would just refer you to that post, but your case seems a little more extreme. I would seriously urge you NOT to give up on love all together. A life without it isn’t really living. Just because you’ve got a history of hurt (you’re not alone) doesn’t mean you should just give up. Love comes in many different forms and sometimes is hard to recognize.

If you really think that your view will impede your ability to write this romantic fantasy book of yours to the point where it grinds you to a halt, then stop writing it. Move to another writing project, or just do some personal writing. Create a second word document and do a sort of ‘Alternate Ending’ to the story. You don’t have to share it with anyone, you don’t even have to keep it with the other story. Write it, put your characters through Hell, and then when you feel like you’re more up to it, complete your Romantic Fantasy the way you wanted to originally.

I would also strongly recommend that you find someone to talk to. Find someone you can confide in and just talk, talk about how you feel and what you need to get out. If worst comes to worse, please feel free to email me and we can discuss this further.

My thoughts and prayers will be with you today on this one. It’ll be okay.

Thanks and best of luck,
Jim

 



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Basing Characters on Loved Ones

Writing characters based on loved ones is a mistake. A BIG mistake every time for a multitude of different reasons and it could not be any more clear why as with the recent Frank Cho vs. Robbi Rodriguez dispute.

Allow me to explain, Robbi Rodriguez is one of the brilliant people who created the now-extremely-popular series Spider Gwen. Recently, a known comic artist, Frank Cho, did a sketch cover of Spider Gwen that Robbi took issue with (pictured above).

His response was less than flattering…

Here’s my take on the frank cho sketch cover. Your drawing dirty pics of one of my kids. Be lucky your never around me. #spidergwen

— RobbiRodriguez (@RobbiRodriguez) April 7, 2015

The full controversy can be read about here if you’re so inclined.

Now you can say that the cover is distasteful and maybe even pornographic, and that’s fine. I’m not asking anyone to like it or hate it. Whether you do or not is your own personal opinion and you have every right to it.
That being said, Mr. Rodriguez is 100% in the wrong here. The comic book industry is no stranger to objectifying women in poses like this or with… physically impossibly large body parts. They do it with men as well, but it’s less sexual and more masculine steroid looks. In any case, this is a fantasy world with characters that have been around since the 60’s yet have somehow barely aged 10 years.
Put aside your view whether you’re okay with this or not and look at it from an objective viewpoint.
Robbi, you create a character based on your daughter, put her into a comic book… a medium known for… as you call it, creating pornographic images, which is something you were very well aware of, and you’re mad at someone who takes the character you created and builds their own rendition of that character in the way they see fit?
Is it really Frank Cho’s fault or your own that this happened?
Characters in the comic world have been drawn and redrawn in multiple forms by multiple artists, that’s the industry.
This is one of a million reasons why you don’t base a character on someone you know or care about, especially a main character. Things happen to characters in stories that may be less than flattering and if god-forbid the person you wrote about ever recognizes themselves, you can deny it all you want, but it’s still going to look sketchy.

Even if that is not a problem or hasn’t happened, or you’ve somehow managed to avoid that in your writing, let’s say your writing becomes popular and someone does a fanfic of it at some point and it gets posted online, or you sell the rights to you story to a publisher or movie company. Guess what can happen to that character once other creative eyes get a hold of them?

People, do yourselves a favor, DO NOT base characters on people you know. It’s not as flattering as it sounds and it is prone to causing problems as we’ve seen.

Trust me, you’ll be a lot happier.


Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Character Loss vs. Reality

This happens to everyone at some point. Either we meet the girl of our dreams… only to find out after pouring our hearts out to that person that they’re already engaged to be married! 😡
We see some treasured item that we really want, but can’t afford it, etc.

The worst is when we find out that we could have had that something or someone had we done one or two things differently and that is a pretty serious sting. So how do we make our characters deal with it?

Well if you write fantasy, like me, that’s easy. MAGIC!!!
Seriously, magic has been a way out and it’s been used way to often. Now for those of you who have read my stories, yes I’m aware that I’m being a bit of a hypocrite right now because I’m guilty of doing the same thing, but at least when I did it, it was in furtherance of the plot. The method I chose came with severe consequences, so it balanced out.
Yes, magic solves all problems, be it bringing a loved one back from the dead with necromancy, using a Love Potion on someone… despite the famously dangerous risks that come with it, or just use creation magic to make the characters wildest dreams come true.

But what if we don’t want to do that? What if we’re suddenly faced with making a character suffer through the knowledge that they’ll never have what they want, no matter how close they get. What do we do then? How do we make a character deal with it?

Well to be honest, I’ve seen many potential ways and there are several to choose from that people would actually do in real life under the right set of circumstances. I’ll provide a few examples. Just choose wisely…

1. Move on: The character accepts what they’ll never have, they move on, find other people and things to fill the void and forget about the notion all together. Easier said than done, right? Well maybe, but it’s usually the one with the best outcome.

2. Slink off into the sunset, never to be seen again: I’m not going to lie, this is one way that I actually love. It’s a great way to give a character the ‘Unsung Hero’ persona. We all know the one; he’s the person who fights the most, the guy who works the hardest and is responsible for saving everyone, but in the end, does not get the girl or any reward. Instead, he stands there off to the side and watches as the people he helped cherish the end of their adventure before turning and walking quietly out of the picture.

3. Suicide: Okay, honestly, I’ve seen this one used too many times. It’s an easy way out and often, the cost of life is kind of a little extreme, but if it’s the way you want to go, maybe if the character is sacrificing themselves for a better cause, it’s one thing, but just dying from sorrow wouldn’t cut it.


Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

The Traitorous Main Character

So you’ve written your story. Your characters are beloved, not only to you, but also your reading audience. Well now you’re writing the next part in your series and are ready to do the unthinkable…

You’re going to have one of the characters turn on the others. One of your main good guys is now to become a villain and not just a villain, but one who was the cause of much of the turmoil that the other characters have gone through.

So how do you do it? Up until now, this character has been close to all of the others. They have become well-liked, and your audience has grown attached to that character. How do you suddenly make them the object of scorn?
Well it may not be as difficult as you think and it may not even be necessary. Let me explain…

If you’re going to paint the person as a straight villain, the shock and surprise alone should be enough to turn your readers against the character. If you’ve written it right, your readers should feel just as betrayed as the characters that they are reading about. Having the ability to make your readers relate, and even feel the same emotions that the characters are is a staple of a truly gifted story teller. Just make sure that you provide an alternate view of the events from the past stories so that everything fits into place. This is absolutely essential if the villain role is going to stick.

Above, I said that it may not be necessary to make the traitor the object of scorn. Indeed it isn’t. If you refer back to my Character Complexes thread, you can read up on how to create a villain that may not necessary be evil. Maybe this traitor has family that they are looking for, maybe they’re turning on their friends for what they perceive to be the greater good, or maybe there is a payoff at the end that is enough for the traitor to sacrifice their friends.
The point is, just because the character is no longer a good guy, or on the same side as the main characters, doesn’t mean that they’re bad. Quite the opposite, it just means that their circumstances have changed. That character can still be relateable and even likable.

Now, does that mean that this character won’t come back to the morally ‘right’ in the story? No, there is no rule in place that a character can’t switch sides.

So just remember when writing a traitor, it may be better and even easier at some points to not paint them as a straight villain.

Thanks and catch you all on the flip-side,

Jim

Free Exchange of Ideas…

Can I just ask… what the heck happened?

When I first published my work, I got a lot of comments from readers, both positive and negative. Divinity in particular got positive and negative comments from die-hard Christians and atheists, and I don’t understand the negativity.

I certainly can’t speak for the rest of the world, so if it’s different outside of the U.S. PLEASE let me know.

I don’t mind disagreeing with my views, in fact, I welcome it! I love it when someone posts a comment on Facebook, here, or on my other pages and tells me that they disagree with my message or my assessment of a certain situation or event. I always enjoy hearing about it from the other person’s perspective and then engaging their talking points. That’s fine…

What’s not fine is when people start calling you names or accuse you of racial bigotry. I don’t get that. Nowhere have I ever used racial slurs in anything I’ve written (unless you count sharpy, which many of my characters call elves), nor have I ever said anything about a specific ethnicity or religion that would portray everyone in any of those groups in a negative light.

I’ll provide a perfect example. The other day I was on a newspaper’s website and one person mentioned on the message board that he supported voter ID laws. The next comment accused him of being racist. How is requiring all citizens to prove their citizens racist? Another comment said that it makes it more difficult for poor people to vote. That is a credible argument, but racist? Is the person making that comment inferring that all poor people are minorities, or that the majority of certain minorities are poor? Isn’t the assumption of racism, actually racism itself?

Anyway, I don’t want to delve into a conversation of semantics, so let me get back on point. Why just sit there, yell and scream, and accuse the person of being racist? Why get mad at that person’s viewpoint? What good does that do? Why not instead of resorting to anger, threats, or childish name-calling, you address that person’s talking points. Tell that person why you think they’re wrong and then hear their arguments. You might learn something and they might actually gain some knowledge in the process too. Why is that not a better solution?

By resorting to childish name-calling, you make yourself look less intelligent.

By resorting to misogyny, you make yourself out to look hateful.

By resorting to inserting race or ethnicity into an argument, you make yourself out to be hateful, you water-down justified accusations of racism, and you spit on everyone who actually suffered from racism and fought for equal rights.

All of this takes a negative toll on society. It get’s to the point where Freedom of Expression and Speech take a back seat to people’s’ sensitivity. The problem is that people don’t see the damage being done by this. Someone showing a different perspective on things, as long as it’s factual and historically accurate, should not be met with scorn. Their talking points should be addressed.

Seriously, why get mad? Why break off contact or remove someone from your contact list? Why resort to stupidity? If someone’s opinion truly upsets you, ignore it. Unless they’re specifically saying it to insult you or a group you’re apart of, why get mad? Why not respond and tell them why you think they’re wrong?

All you’re doing is making it more difficult for someone to express their opinions or their views. By accusing someone who expresses a viewpoint of racial, religious, or ethnic bigotry where none was intended or implied, or calling them names, all you’re doing is making another person fear how they’re going to be portrayed by others, including their employers and family, and thus are making it harder for them to put their views to paper, and that’s a terrible, awful thing to do, when the Free Exchange of Ideas is one of the most important freedoms anyone has.

I really don’t want to spend too much time on this, so I’m going to close with a quote from a TV show I loved as a child:

With the first link, the chain is forged. The first speech censured, first thought forbidden, the first freedom denied, chains us all irrevocably… The first time any man’s freedom is trodden on, we’re all damaged. 

P.S. Don’t be afraid to post if you think I missed something or disagree, as I said above, I welcome other viewpoints and would love to address them.