Normally I skip the into in my usual impatience to get to the practical learning parts but this time I read everything the author wanted to impart to me. An awakening began as to my ignorance of what type of stories I like to write. I mean, I know I like writing romance and a good idea of what category I fit into but I hadn’t connected with the subconscious desires that actually direct my stories. Being a mix of plotter and pantser I’ve relied largely on intuition By reading the introduction, I understood that knowing more about the intuitive process or understanding my intuitive process would be empowering.
Alexandra Sokoloff feels this is so import a foundation that she puts it right up front. Part One, Chapter One,. ‘The Master List’. This list is an aid to analysis of story structure. She says, ‘...it’s very simple: in order to write stories like the ones that move you, you need to look at the specific stories that affect you and figure out what those authors and filmmakers are doing to get the effect they do.’ In the beginning exercise she asks the reader to list ten of their favourite books or movies. The benefit of the list is understanding which romance story elements you gravitate to. The idea is that in writing these kinds of stories you are working with yourself and tapping into your brand of magic.
I found this a little challenging. I mean, only ten? Alexandra does say this list is not carved in stone and is meant to grow and change. So encouraged by it not being a now or never event, I asked my intuition to activate my favourite romance stories and went with what popped into my head first. Here’s my list – in no particular order
Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
Sleepless in Seattle- Movie
The Perfect Rake – Anne Gracie
The Sheikh’s Convenient Virgin – Trish Morey
The Accidental Tourist – Anne Tyler
Slave to Sensation – Nalini Singh
Business in the Bedroom– Anne Oliver
Persuasion – Jane Austen
White Palace – Movie
Alexandra says there is a number of things that can be understood about your preferences from this list. Genre being one. There is really no clear genre in my list but as to the type of story I connect to I see the common elements as they are perceived by me. Remember this is my list and therefore my reasons are why they’re on this list, so you may not agree with me. As long as you see the commonalities on your own list your winning.
This list gets analysed in detail but first I identified some major stand out features. I love a Cinderella story and stories in which opposites are attracted to each other. I did have to take ‘Sleepless in Seattle’ out of this mix as it didn’t seem to fit with the others. So there’s a generalization taking place but I may yet discover its connection with the list. That my novels have these story elements came as an ah-ha moment. Also I’m reading a book which is going to be on this list. ‘Cassie’s Grand Plan’ by Emmie Dark. It has those elements I love and I feel a really strong connection that means it will be memorable.
In looking for a creative spark I got a whole fireworks display thanks to Alexandra Sokoloff.
I’d love to know if anyone else has benefited from this process and how it helped.