Monday, April 30, 2018

How Being A Romance Writer Ruined Movies For Me

My husband and I went to the movies this weekend. I won’t tell you which one, but it was a big one. And the movie was great. However, afterwards, while my husband was fan-geeking all over the place about it, I started thinking about how my opinions of movies has changed now that I’m a writer, and a romance writer in particular.

The key to romance, the definition, really, is the “happily ever after” or “happily for now” ending. It is a requirement of the genre. If the story doesn’t end with either of those, it’s not a romance. There doesn’t have to be sex, but the story has to end with an HEA or HFN. Romeo & Juliet? Not a romance because the hero and heroine die in the end.

While I don’t exclusively watch romance movies, I enjoy movies that have some sort of relationship in them. And depending on how the relationship plays out can influence how much I enjoy the movie, although I’ll say that as long as the relationship is believable, I can be pretty understanding.

But it’s more than the ending of the movie that determines whether or not I enjoy it. Since becoming a writer, I look at the structure as well. Is there conflict? Are there character arcs? Is there a plot?

The last Bourne movie I saw was one long car chase. There might have been a vague plot to it, but honestly, car commercials have about the same amount of story in them. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy the adrenaline rush, but the movie doesn’t tell a story. The Marvel movies usually have about 30-45 minutes in the middle of the movie that sags. The first crisis has been solved, but then there’s another issue they have to fix. As much as I enjoy these movies, they remind me of an infomercial—but wait, there’s more! Even romances don’t usually last long enough for the growth of the relationship to be believable.

My husband is a lawyer and doesn’t enjoy watching legal dramas due to the errors that are often included. I never used to understand that, but I’m starting to now. It’s not that I don’t like watching movies, I do. But it’s harder to turn off my “story brain” and let myself just get taken over by the movie.


  1. I don’t know about you but I learned everything has to have a point to the story. Now when I watch I think why is X relevant to the plot? It’s not so surprising anymore when it’s purpose is revealed.

    1. I agree. I think some of the mystery/wonder is taken away.