Friday, April 3, 2009

Love Stories: "Traditional" Love

This series has been so much fun to write. All the squishy, gushy love has put me in a good mood. *Sighs dreamily.* I'm almost sad this is the last day. Now I'll have to go back to having no clue what to post.

"Traditional" Love (another dumb title, sorry)
The Formula: Girl meets guy (or vice versa) and they connect. Then a sequence of butterfly-inducing events happen as she tries to figure out if guy likes her too. Gushy moment of awesomeness when they finally get together. But THEN comes the "deal breaker." Something so catastrophic (okay, at least gut wrenching) that you're not sure if this adorable couple is going to make it. After some tears and soul searching, couple pulls through...or doesn't.

This one has a ton of variants, and is really the skeleton for all the others if you think about it. All the other types can be mixed into this structure or be left out entirely. The freedom of this form is fun. You can do just about anything with it—uh, because it's the romance genre formula. I'll give you some of my favorites for examples.

One of my all time squee chick flicks—Return To Me. What is not to love? Fox Mulder crying, old guys singing Frankie, a sweetheart girl who had a heart transplant, old bicycles, monkeys, an IRISH/ITALIAN PUB! This is a great example of how many twists you can throw into the "traditional love" format. Fox's wife dies—her heart is given to sweetheart girl. They MEET and don't know! They fall in love! OMG! But then sweetheart girl finds the letter she wrote the donor's family—ahhhh. How do you overcome that? Oh, good stuff.

Man, why am I struggling to find a book example? Sad, my brain is going. There are a ton, of course, but it's Friday. I'm going to have to go back to the good ol' Pride & Prejudice again. Jane and Mr. Bingley's story is an adorable "traditional love." They are both immediately attracted to each other, they court, but then they are ripped apart by outside forces. Those meddling friends and family! How dare they! But they still care for each other, miss each other. And in the end they finally get to be together. Aw.

I pretty much use this formula in Relax, I'm a Ninja as well. There is a bit of a forbidden element though. This is also the basis for Sealed, with just a touch of reluctance. It's so easy to pull in bits of the others, and I think that's what makes this one exiting. You can hybrid it with anything. Throw a pinch of reluctance in at the beginning, or perhaps and touch of blindness, maybe an unintentional deception. So much to work with, so many hearts to break.


  1. I love this serries on Love Story formulas,

    Another traditional love story: Love Story.

    Though perhaps there ought to be a variant where guy meets girl, guy loses girl, guy gets girl again, girl dies tragically. Maybe this variant was already on your list. Other examples -- Shadowlands, Moulin Rogue.

  2. Ah the love story - I really want to watch Sleepless in Seattle now. It's my favourite. I am in the mood for mushy-gushiness. Some days you just need a bit of romance to help you back to feeling good about the world.

  3. I love this series too!
    I have to say up until this moment I thought you were saying relax (you) were a Ninja. LOL. That always somehow made me feel safe and cozy inside. :) Great title for your novel!

  4. This is a great series! Sad, no more :(

    Oh Love, you finicky thing, you. Splitting into these different aspects definitely helps see it more clearly! I can't wait to see what the relationship in my next novel will be...

  5. Hey, I was sure I commented on this earlier . . .

    At any rate, it's funny because, as I thought about it, I don't think I've ever written traditional love. I'm too big a fan of tragic obstacles.

    Loved the series, Natalie. You need to think of others like this! You've got a good thing going here. :)

  6. I have been searching for my own novel's love story in this series. I think I found it. How traditional. And I thought I was being very creative.

    I loved Return to Me. LOVED it. One of my favorites along with Sleepless in Seattle (JaneyV) and Only You. Your posts have really put me in the mood for some good chic flicks. (Do you think I have time to watch chic flicks?!? Enough of these love posts!)

  7. Only You, I had forgotten about that movie, Jessie. Now I want to go rent it!

    Natalie, Love to the Love Stories. It's fun to think about molds all stories fall into. It's amazing how many different love stories there are, yet they're all the same if you look at it this way. Posting these was a great idea, and you explained them really well!

  8. Yep, this is pretty much what I put in my books. :) Love it!

  9. Late in commenting on this series. I'm filing these away for reference. Love stories, as you may imagine, are not my genre (though my WIP does have love interest) and this will help me wade through my homgenous slurry.