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Flawed, Funny, and Fabulous
One of my favorite movies of all time is Romancing the Stone.
Romancing the Stone trailer (http://youtu.be/WokoWHHAxp4)
I mean, who doesn’t love the idea of a dull life being turned upside down with adventure, love, and treasure with a hot, bad boy who only has eyes for you?
Of course, I’m not so sure if I’m game about running for my life from drug runners in Columbia, but the idea of adventure does have its merits. That’s one of the many reasons I wanted to be a writer. To create worlds that would be escapes from everyday reality and why not? The world can be a stressful place, full of uncertainty, especially when you add in that upcoming Mayan Apocalypse thingy, but I don’t want it to be a perfect world. Just a world full of great characters and wonderful scenarios. For years I’d avoid many homework assignments and zone out during lectures as stories ran through my brain. I’ve got boxes of journals of ideas, half written stories, life experiences, and complaints about why my social calendar wasn’t full my entire four years in high school and the size of my thighs.
During nursing school, I kept asking if particular drugs were traceable if you gave them certain ways. My instructor became very distressed that I kept asking this, until my classmates said, “Oh, don’t mind her. She’s a writer.”
But I digress…back to Romancing the Stone. This was one of the reasons I wanted to write romance.
When I watch this movie, it’s a classic take on what romances were thought to be at the time: silly stories of girls in distress, waiting for a man to rescue her and make it all better.
But nothing could be further from the truth. Romance novels and movies are about empowerment for both the man and woman. They are about these characters liking each other at their worst and encouraging each other to be their best.
Are there stories where the woman flakes out and gives it all up for the man she “just can’t live without?” Sure and I could name a few hear, but I won’t. I don’t read those books or watch those movies because I think they are ridiculous to see a woman be a vapid, shell of a person, and overrun by a dominate male. Regardless, they fill a niche for someone out there. It’s just not my thing.
I like movies and books where I see both characters grow.
Let’s go back to Romancing the Stone for a second. Where do they begin?
Joan Wilder (Kathleen Turner) starts out as a clueless, shut-in who lives her life through her writing and a good bottle of booze, but a turn of events forces her out of her sheltered life and immediately into adventure with Jack T. Colton (Michael Douglas).
With very little prep, Joan Wilder quickly finds a way to survive in the jungle and eventually become an equal to Colton, which only gets him interested in her more.
Isn’t that what we want for our own characters? To immediately throw them outside their worlds of comfort and give them some other path to take?
Half the time, Joan has no idea what she’s doing and Jack can’t fight the feelings he has for her. It’s romantic chemistry at its finest and one of the most fun rom-coms to watch because in the end, they both discover who they really are as individuals and as a couple. Basically, they rescue each other. Love it!
In my debut novel, Weighting for Mr. Right, Megan Sayla starts off a lot like Joan Wilder—confused, frustrated with her life, and a wallflower who winds up in a place she’s never been as she tries to navigate out of there without totally embarrassing herself. That’s where she unexpectantly meets Jacob Dante, a guy who’s all but given up on finding happily ever after or just a woman who’s worth dating once. He’s decided to focus on himself by making good money, kind of like Jack T. Colton.
Geez, I didn’t realize I’d written it like this movie until I wrote this article. I must really like this film, but honestly, this is the idea behind so many romance novels. Give the characters room to grow because no one wants to read about people who have it all figured out. How boring would that be?
She says hi.
He says hi.
They fall in love, get married, and live happily ever after.
Epilogue: He makes a whole lot of money. The live in a mansion, have three children in four years, her boobs don’t sag from breastfeeding and she’s still a size two. They vacation in the south of France every summer and she never has to worry about wrinkles.
No thanks. I want characters that are flawed, funny, and fabulous. The more real than they are, the better the fantasy world of the writer because the best romances are the ones we can relate to. The ones who have us look at those in our lives and realize that many of our adventures are simply waiting for us to start. We just have to be willing to take that leap of faith and jump.
For more from Patricia W. Fischer, you can find her on her website, Facebook, Pintrest, and Twitter. Her debut novel Weighting for Mr. Right is available at Soul Mate Publishing, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble . To read the first chapter, click here.