Don't Mess With The Formula!
I'm here in paradise, viewing the absolutely stunning Caribbean Sea from my balcony. Happy spring breakers are here—some young, like my daughter. Others in college, here for a week of endless partying. Others still wanting a relaxing escape from the every day.
As a writer, I find the Caribbean backdrop peaceful and inspiring, and I enjoyed a nice time on the beach earlier writing my latest—a story called SPRING BREAK that will come out next year. Of course, I got some flack from people reminding me that I'm on vacation and therefore shouldn't be working, but they don't know that I was working on a book, and for me—and perhaps all writers—a tranquil setting can inspire you to do what you love, and when it does, it hardly feels like work at all.
As I lounged at the beach, I took in the people around me. Many were reading. I saw some Nora Roberts books in the mix (of course!). Other authors too.
And no surprise to me, other romances.
When times get tough, it's not hard to understand that people turn to stories that are uplifting, with a guaranteed happy ending. Romance novels offer that consistently.
It's all about not messing with the formula.
I was chatting with a friend recently—Joanna, the founder of this blog—and we were talking about the success of the Harlequin Presents novels. In a day when women are liberated and doing for themselves, these novels that feature dominating alpha heroes still fly off the shelves.
I know I'd want to slap one of those Greek tycoons silly, but in fiction it works. It's all about the tried and true fantasy of a woman being swept into a world of power and prestige. With titles like THE ITALIAN'S INEXPERIENCED MISTRESS and a host of others featuring billionaires and tycoons, you'd think that today's woman would balk at those books and move on. But apparently not. Harlequin hasn't messed with the formula, and it's one that works. Big time.
Which bring me to my rant for the day. Now you may disagree with me, but I think that the producers of ENCHANTED would have done well to stick to the formula. I saw this movie quite some time ago, but every time I think about it, I can't get over the ending.
If you saw it, you know the premise: a princess from a cartoon fairytale world is sent tumbling through a hole by a wicked witch before she can marry. She ends up on the streets of New York city completely out of her element. Clever, clever premise. When her prince learns of her fate, he goes through the hole himself in order to save his betrothed. It's humorous as those from the cartoon world—totally out of their element—try to survive the streets of New York City.
I loved almost all of the movie—except the ending. AND DON'T CONTINUE READING IF YOU DON'T WANT THE SPOILER. After Edward, the prince from fairytale land, spends so much time trying to find Giselle, his betrothed, it turns out they're not meant to be. His kiss doesn't awaken her after she eats the poison apple. Instead, it is the man who helped her in New York City whose kiss awakens her (the one who of course didn't believe she could be from another world, while his daughter did believe—all of which added to the movie's charm and humor).
When poor Edward is stunned that his kiss doesn't save Giselle and the other man's does, my daughter, four at the time, burst into tears. And this is when I wanted to yell at the television. You don't have these two people, Giselle and Edward, who were meant to be in fairytale land, end up apart!
One of my friends argues that the point the movie was trying to make was that those you think you're supposed to be with you're not necessarily supposed to be with. I told her that I get that, and if ENCHANTED was billed as a different kind of movie, I could deal with that. But the way I see it, true love exists in fairytales, just as it does in romance novels.
When your prince and princess ride off into the sunset at the end of a fairytale, you know it's forever. No ifs, ands, or buts.
The producers and director and script writer of ENCHANTED may have thought they were all clever with their shocking twist to the storyline, and I give them points for originality, but they ruined this movie for me with the ending.
And for my daughter, too. Her reaction summed up their failure to “get it.”
You don't mess with the formula!
Do you agree or disagree? Did you see the movie? What do you think?
Also, do you read and enjoy the Harlequin Presents line? Or even the Desire line, for that matter. Do you love those alpha males—in fiction?
Until next time, adios!