BUILD US YOUR IDEAL STORY with Anna Clifton
Romantic films and TV series inspire me to write. I’ll often re-watch favourites when I’m plotting out a new book, thinking through the things that resonated with me, hoping to ‘build’ these into my own ‘ideal story’.
Although my favourite films and TV series are all very different, they pretty much contain the same handful of elements guaranteed to make me melt every time. Luckily, I’ve found each of these elements listed as a ‘menu choice’ on AusRom Today’s ‘Build Us Your Ideal Story’ list of dishes. So it’s time to menu-up and order a total of $10 worth of delicious romance favourites.
$1 Unbreakable Connection Between Lovers
… The Notebook style
I’m a sucker for an unbreakable-connection-between-lovers story – my first menu choice.
It features in one of my favourite romance films, The Notebook (2004). I love the scene in which Allie, trying on her wedding dress for her upcoming marriage to Lon ‘the perfect guy’, spots a photograph of her childhood sweetheart Noah Calhoun on the back of a newspaper, and faints. She may not have seen Noah in years, but in a moment it feels like yesterday since they were together.
Inspired by The Notebook, a fraught but unbreakable connection also features between my two lead characters in my second novel, Adam’s Boys – as does lost years, lives on different sides of the planet, and their gorgeous four-year-old son, Henry.
$1 Closed-door sex
… Notting Hill style
I’m drawn to sweet heat-level romances, so ‘closed-door sex’ is a natural and economical (only $1!) second menu choice for me.
The 1999 film Notting Hill is one of my favourite romance films in which this element features, its writer, Richard Curtis, focusing on other aspects of the relationship between Anna and William.
Having said that, there are romance books and films where the sex is central to the story. The sex might kick-off, complicate or develop the relationship in some way. Or there might be an emotional or physical issue at play for one of the characters. Whatever its purpose, when a sex scene is written well it can be very powerful.
$3 Conflict That Forces Personal Growth
…North and South style
The British TV adaptation of Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South (BBC, 2004) is a pin-up example for my third menu choice – ‘conflict forcing personal growth’.
As the title North and South suggests, a world of emotional and social conflict keeps Margaret and John apart for a very long time. In the meantime, tension and chemistry sizzle between them, and the final resolution of their love story through their own personal growth is incredibly satisfying.
$5 Sigh-worthy male lead
Finally, a menu-must for any romance is a sigh-worthy male lead – strong, true to himself and with a heart of gold.
In the film Bridesmaids (2011), Highway Patrol Officer Nathan Rhodes, played by Chris O’Dowd, has all of these qualities, together with a great sense of humour that keeps flaky female lead, Annie, on her toes.
In some ways Nathan reminds me of Detective Sergeant Cooper Halligan, the male lead in my most recent release, Copping It Sweet – another strong guy with a badge, a good heart and an unpredictable sense of humour that keeps my female lead, Sara, on her toes.
So that’s it – my $10 gourmet romance menu, AusRom Today style. It’s amazing how far $10 gets you when you choose from the heart 🙂
Copping It Sweet
To find out her secrets he’s willing to risk everything — including his heart.
Sara Sullivan has a landlord who wants to evict her, a 1960s Beetle that rarely starts, and a looming exam she’s all set to fail. But none of that compares to the return home of Detective Sergeant Cooper Halligan, her best friend’s brother and the single biggest threat to the secret she’s guarded for years…
Cooper Halligan is happy to be home. But he’s not happy to discover that Sara Sullivan is a permanent fixture within his family, especially when he’s the only one who knows about the sinister marriage lying hidden in her past.
Sara’s crime-boss husband is the prime suspect in the murder of an innocent street kid, and now Cooper’s prepared to do anything to find out what Sara knows.
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