Contemporary Romance Part One
Billy Mernit is the author of ‘Writing the Romantic Comedy’ and also has a day job reading movie scripts. Screenwriters are taught to pick up the nuisances of the zeitgeist to create something the US audience will want to watch.
Like Romantic Comedies.
In his blog today*Billy picks up on the total reversal which has occured in the way screenwriters portray romance in 2007 compared to the classic screwball comedies of golden age Hollywood.
And it links to one main cultural change – The Power of Women.
In many recent romantic comedy movies, the men are often portrayed as the bewildered slacker ‘manboys’, and the women the take charge striver ‘mothers’ with careers and goals.
“The perilous new direction of the slacker-striver genre reduces the role of women to vehicles. Their only real function is to make the men grow up. “
More worrying, this may not always be so far from the truth.
Billy references a New York Times article this week which describes only too clearly the issues successful women have finding dates and keeping those dates. **
This article reinforces something which has been noodling inside my brain for a while.
Something which links back to two of the reasons why, in my humble opinon, so many graduate and professional women read category romantic fiction – of all kinds.
1. The unspoken hope and expectation that, as a clever girl, you will meet someone who will respect you and value you for that driven, hardworking success. And the money/lifestyle you earn because of it.
“Although these women often say it is men who have issues around their higher salaries, sometimes it is the women themselves who are uncomfortable with the role reversal.
…The discomfort over who pays for what seems to be not really about money, plain and simple. Instead, it is suggestive of the complex psychology of what many of these women expect from their dates (for him to be a traditional breadwinner) and what they think they should expect (Oh, I just want him to be a nice guy). “**
2. The need for someone to love you as a complete human being with all of the faults and issues that comes with you, and give you true romantic love – someone you can fall in love with and want to spend the rest of your life with. Someone who ‘completes you.’
“Is it possible that today’s more independent and successful woman has a different kind of wish-fulfillment fantasy? Maybe they want to see a rom-com that stresses its heroine’s vulnerabilities, so she can, once again, be rescued and taken care of, in the manner of The Way Things Used To Be.”
Compare the harsh truth of life for the single woman [ in western society at least] and the idealised worlds of unselfish complete love she reads about in the pages of a romance novel.
Surely this is the BEST reason and motivation why we should create MORE wish fulfillment fantasy stories.
Lightbulb moment? What do our readers want from the romance novels we are writing?
As clever successful authors, I don’t need to tell you the answer. It is all here in these articles. [And no doubt in countless PhD theses of academics studying womens’ fiction.]