- from http://www.journalistandwriter.wordpress.com
- Music from ‘Message in a bottle’
shared by “totally unmusical and unromantic” c
Enjoy, if you can do two (or perhaps three) things at once, like listening, watching and reading (unlike this mere male writer, who can’t even walk and talk at the same time)
- Don’t call it a romance
- Trumpet your literary history
Sparks writes 2000 words a day, three or four days a week, for four or five months at a time on each of his novels. He’s managed roughly one book a year since 1996. And the author sees himself as part of a grand tradition. “I write in a genre that was not defined by me. The examples were not set out by me.
- Find the conflict
The tough part, says Sparks, is to find “the primary conflict” that will keep his characters apart despite their instant attraction and evident compatibility. In Dear John, it’s 9/11 and the hero’s determination to go fight in Afghanistan. In Nights In Rodanthe, it’s the hero’s immediate need to go reconnect with his son in South America.
If all else fails, it will emerge that one of our central couple is rich and has a snooty family who disapproves of the other’s humble background: this trope crops up in The Notebook, Dear John, The Best Of Me, The Last Song, A Walk To Remember andThe Lucky One.
Whatever stands in their way, no one will curse at any point.
- Find the characters, then let love tear them apart
This is easy. At some point in the last 80 years or so, our straight, white heroes meet in a beautiful town on the eastern North Carolina coast. She will be gorgeous, but humble, and unlucky in love. He will be stoic, a man of few words who has a capacity for violence that he keeps leashed. He will look great in jeans. But something stands in the way of the spark of attraction between them. At least one will have a tragedy in their past, like a dead spouse, or an undeserved prison sentence, or a family illness (Safe Haven, The Best Of Me, The Last Song).
There are those thorny class issues, because one of them almost certainly lives in a beautiful antebellum mansion and the other comes from the wrong side of the tracks. Occasionally, there will be a war, and our manly hero will have to go away and fight (Dear John, The Notebook, The Longest Ride). And if all else fails, the heroic pair’s own high ideals will separate them and demand that one of them sacrifice his or her happiness to the greater good, at least temporarily (Dear John, Nights In Rodanthe).
After someone dies at the end – and at least one person always does – the film’s survivors will learn a bittersweet lesson about life and love and emerge with a sense of quietly tragic happiness.
Occasionally one of the central couple will die, just to keep you on your toes, but more often it’s a family member. You can usually spot the sacrificial lamb, because they will be the one spouting the most obnoxious cod-philosophy about savouring life and following your heart. The soon-to-be-dead, you see, are very wise and in touch with the universe.
Or as Sparks puts it, “Faith, forgiveness, family – if you get it just right, these are themes that touch viewers, because they recognise them in their own lives.”
For the full article see http://www.nzherald.co.nz/entertainment/news/article.cfm?c_id=1501119&objectid=11477686
For more tips on writing from Nicholas Sparks
Perhaps time to write that romantic novel (“manlit”) now, craig!
(seeing that my first bit of writing happened in my early teens when I wrote some love-letters on behalf of some friends)
Did they work… !
The various books* that Craig “felt inspired to write” are available at http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B005GGMAW4
All proceeds go to needy and underprivileged children – MINE!
“Together, one mind, one life (one small step at a time), let’s see how many people (and lives) we can encourage, impact, empower, enrich, uplift and perhaps even inspire to reach their fullest potentials…and strive for and perhaps one sunny day even achieve their wildest dreams.”
“Life is God’s novel…so let Ultimate Source write it as it unfolds.”
Don’t worry about the world ending today…
it’s already tomorrow in scenic and tranquil ‘little’ New Zealand