What I Learned From Hallmark Movies, Part Two

What I Learned From Hallmark Movies, Part Two

by Suzanne D. Williams

I addressed this issue before, but have a different twist on it this time. Maybe it’s my need to make people smile kicking in. In any case, in Part One, I gave a number of standards that make these movies work:

“A well-defined setting; Two contrasting lifestyles; A big secret that might break the couple apart; A wise sub-character to set them straight; An unusual situation which forces the characters to spend an inordinate amount of time together.”

All still true. Yet, taking a seat from a different perspective, I see several other useful writing tips:

You can name any small town by choosing a tree species and adding -vale or –ville. Cedarvale, Willowvale, Pineville. You get the idea. And small towns have one bright, sunny main street, a lovely pond or lake somewhere with a dock, and a succession of sub-characters who know the main couple is in love way before they do.

An inn/farm/family restaurant is the ideal place to work. Suzy is going home to help her dad or mom who has decided to retire or has developed a sudden minor health problem. They will have a week where they are stubborn and immobile and push their child to work for them and thus find themselves. Suzy is suddenly an expert pie baker, producing award-winning crusts.

And speaking of winning …

Winning the contest at the local spring/summer/harvest festival is a great way for characters to fall in love. All characters must be either competitive or gullible and swayed to be competitive. They will beat out any other competition no matter how inept they actually are and thereby realize they like an inordinate about of public attention. In short, there is no such thing as a bookish-introverted main character like me who’d run if they were put in front of a crowd.

Always insert an adorable outgoing son or daughter. One main character must be a single parent with fond memories of their ex or a good relationship with him/her. It is best if the child be the opposite gender. Dad-daughter. Mom-son. The child is also very perceptive, choosing their new parent way before dumb ol’ dad or mom can see how stupid they are.

The boyfriend your female main character will dump should be clueless about how out-of-sync he is. And probably the guy I’ve named Mr. Puffy Cheeks. I like him as the dumb boyfriend. He’s slightly pushy, too career-minded, and has no idea how a woman thinks. On the other hand, blond-cutie-new-boyfriend slash guy-she’s-known-for-years is compassionate, thoughtful, generous, and talented. He’ll bow out of her life before he’ll see her hurt by anything he’s caused.

Which brings me to my final thought.

The new boyfriend struggles at his career. Or has no career at all. I’m not sure what the guy did in the last Hallmark I watched, but frankly, I didn’t care. He fit all the parameters for swoonability – winning smile, old truck, looks good in blue jeans. I do seem to remember he repaired the dishwasher. But don’t all good men do that?

In all seriousness, though these thoughts are meant to amuse, they teach us two things. One, that too much of the same thing can become annoying. Two, that too much of the same thing, the fact I can expect him to act a certain way and her to react accordingly, makes readers feel safe. This is why we watch reruns on TV. We know what to expect and can set our fears aside (and in my case, let my attention wander. I know how it’ll turn out, after all.)

There is something important to be said for that in reader’s minds. But also for being a good enough writer I can put my own spin on familiar tropes and still have readers come away satisfied. I think it takes a dash of both for a book to find success. It’s balancing the same-old-same-old against a creative mind and finding enough magic to bring readers back again and again.

You never know … if you can pull that off, you might just find yourself on Hallmark.

Only 99 Cents! 

http://amzn.to/2zreaAi  

Free on Kindle Unlimited

Saddle up! All the boots & blue jeans a woman can take in 4 faith-filled stories – and SINGING COWBOY is EXCLUSIVE to this set. You won’t find it anywhere else!

God, Girls, and Cowboys

About The Author:

Suzanne D WilliamsBest-selling author, Suzanne D. Williams, is a native Floridian, wife, mother, and photographer. She is the author of both nonfiction and fiction books. She writes devotionals and instructional articles for various blogs. She also does graphic design for self-publishing authors. She is co-founder of THE EDGE.

To learn more about what she’s doing and check out her extensive catalog of stories, visit www.feelgoodromance.com or link with her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/suzannedwilliamsauthor or on Twitter at twitter.com/SDWAuthor 

CrossReads Book Spotlight: God’s Upside Down Kingdom

CrossReads Book Spotlight: God’s Upside Down Kingdom

CrossReads Book Spotlight

God’s Upside Down Kingdom

by Terri Main

God's Upside Down Kingdom

When Jesus began his public ministry, his first words are what we call today “The Beatitudes.” Beatitudes simply means “blessed sayings.” But The Beatitudes are more than just a set of sayings. They form a blueprint for us to find happiness. Yet, The Beatitudes are shocking. They seem backwards. They are definitely counter cultural. After all, who considers poverty of spirit, mourning, showing mercy, hungering after righteousness, making peace, seeking purity and enduring persecution as particularly happy things?

In this nine-lesson Bible study, we will explore how the Beatitudes can not only transform your life, but begin a transformation of the world around you. The Beatitudes, then, become not just something you memorized in Sunday School as a child, but as a pattern for Kingdom living. The Christian life is not just about following a set of rules. It’s about transforming one’s entire approach to life. The Beatitudes help us see the results of that transformation.

This Bible study is designed for use by both individuals and small Bible Study groups. It takes a discovery approach with each lesson containing a commentary followed by study or discussion questions.

Amazon Buy Button

CrossReads Short Takes: How Do You Get Published & Publishing Terms 101

CrossReads Short Takes: How Do You Get Published & Publishing Terms 101

CrossReads Short Takes

How Do You Get Published

by Celine Healy

How Do You Get Published

This is a reference and practical guide for fiction writers and authors who want to learn the best and easist way to become a published author. The crux of this book is for fiction writers to know all of the costs of production so that they have total control over their book publication.

Amazon Buy Button

 

Page Divider

 

Publishing Terms 101

by Carole Crosby

Publishing Terms 101

This book/guide will help:
* Authors who are just starting out on the book-publishing route.
* Authors who don’t have time to trawl the Net all-day, looking for definitions.
* Established authors curious to learn a few new words/terms.

In the spirit of International Nelson Mandela Day, the author is donating all the proceeds from this book’s sales to Adult Literacy in South Africa.

Amazon Buy Button

CrossReads Spotlight: Christmas Belles of Georgia

CrossReads Spotlight: Christmas Belles of Georgia

CrossReads Book Spotlight

Christmas Belles of Georgia

by Jeanie Smith Cash, Rose Allen McCauley,

Jeri Odell, Debra Ullrick

Christmas Belles of Georgia

They were sisters once—identical quadruplets—given up for adoption at birth. Now each receives a letter advising her to claim her inheritance and the family she never knew. . .at Christmas. Holly feels betrayed when she learns she’s adopted, while Carol prays for a loving family. Starr thinks it’s all a hoax, and Noelle needs a break from a hopeless situation. There are more surprises in store as each young woman gets just the gift she wants—and needs. You’ll be warmed by love in these interwoven tales of the ultimate Christmas gift. . . .

Amazon Buy Button

CrossReads Short Takes: Deep in the Heart & All About Mercie

CrossReads Short Takes: Deep in the Heart & All About Mercie

CrossReads Short Takes

Deep in the Heart

by Staci Stallings

Deep in the Heart

Just out of college and completely alone in the world, Maggie Montgomery has one shot left to save her life from an abyss of poverty and hopelessness. Clinging to the last shred of fuel and hope, she arrives at the mansion of Texas billionaire Conrad Ayer. Although Maggie is clearly not what Mr. Ayer and his wife have in mind for a nanny, they agree to hire her temporarily until they can find someone more appropriate to fill the position. However, Maggie’s whole world is about to be up-ended by two way-over-scheduled children and one incredibly handsome hired hand. As she struggles to fit into a world she was never made to fit in, Maggie wonders if she can ever learn to become a perfect version of herself so she can keep the job, or is she doomed to always be searching for a life she can never quite grasp?

Keith Ayer despises his life. As the son of Texas billionaire Conrad Ayer and the fiance to a Senator from Texas’ daughter, it looks great on the outside, but inside, he is dying. He would vastly prefer to manage and train his father’s racehorses. However, everyone else thinks that is beneath him. He needs to get into industry and build on his father’s success. Suffocating under the constrictions of his life, he meets Maggie who begins to teach him that wealth and power is not everything in this life. But can Keith defy the most powerful men in Texas to follow his heart?

One of the most inspiring Contemporary Christian Romance novels available, “Deep in the Heart” is an Amazon #1 Best Seller. It is truly Christian romance at its very best. Filled with faith, hope, and love, Christian romance kindle books aim to inspire women and men alike while giving them an exceptional romantic love story they will not soon forget. This is one book that will surely find its way onto your most inspirational books list!

“Staci Stallings means Christian fiction at its best!”

Amazon Buy Button

 

Page Divider

 

All About Mercie

by Sharon Srock

All About Mercie

Scottlyn Rich is sixty-seven days from her wedding to Grant Weber. When the conversation she hoped would bring reconciliation with her estranged father turns to disaster, she is left adrift and feeling more orphaned than ever. Until her mother walks through the door.

Grant Weber has spent two years earning Scottlyn’s trust. He can’t believe how easily she’s willing to accept her mom’s excuses about where she’s been for the past seventeen years. There’s something off about Jocelyn Rich and he’s determined to find answers even if it costs him his engagement to Scottlyn.

Will Scottlyn allow deception to derail her future, or will she take hold of wisdom and realize that her life truly is all about Mercie?

Amazon Buy Button