Monday, February 11, 2008

More Hands Across the Novel

Okay, hopefully you’ve been staring at my/your Cinderella notes and saying, “What’s next?” Hah! Plenty. See, Cinderella is a very short book. They really padded to turn that baby into a movie. We, as writers, have the same job. We start out with an idea. We have to turn that baby into a novel. Characterization and plot are the two most essential pieces.

Since we write romance, it’s very important to know the ins and outs of our characters: motivation, doubts, triumphs, everything. That’s where term = class + distinguishing characteristics really comes in. We’re going to approach our novels the way we did with Cinderella. We dissected her in five parts… remember the classes. 1. beloved daughter 2. stepdaughter 3. slave 4. imposter 5. princess. Term says the same. Class ‘can’ stay the same, but it ‘can’ and ‘should’ also change. Let’s start dissecting the heroine in You’ve Got Mail.

We’re going to divide You’ve Got Mail into four parts: beginning, middle, black moment, and ending.

(Term) Kathleen Kelly = (Class) successful independent bookstore owner + (distinguishing characteristics) single but involved both literally (Greg Kinnear) and figuratively (Tom Hanks), conservative, mother deceased, has enough money, has extended family, safe.

Wow, did you notice how many details I put in the distinguishing characters. All of these character traits help make Kathleen Kelly a heroine we love.

(Term) Kathleen Kelly = (Class) threatened independent bookstore owner + (distinguishing characteristics) believes in co-existence, doesn’t know what Joe Foxx looks like, searches for answers – especially from a stranger more than her significant other.

Interestingly enough, at this stage, most of the beginning stage characteristics are the same, except for safe. Whoa. This really keeps the character in our thoughts and prayers… we hate it when our world no longer feels safe.

Black Moment
(Term) Kathleen Kelly = (Class) Unemployed independent bookstore owner + (distinguishing characteristics) now solidly single, still conservative, feels like she let her deceased mother down, worried a little bit about money, extended family at risk, both relationships at risk, world is not safe.

(Term) Kathleen Kelly = (Class) Reinvented ex independent bookstore owner + (distinguishing characteristics) still single, but…, still conservative, but…, extended family just might change, forgiveness just might return safety to her world.

Next week, we'll do this same thing with Gone With the Wind.

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