I have recently (and a little late) joined the Poldark obsession. It has set my brain on fire and I have so many questions and feelings. I have also bought the first novel by Winston Graham, as I want a more in depth understanding of the story. I’m preparing myself for the fact that it may be different to the much beloved TV series.
The writing for the TV series is simply phenomenal. The evocative dialogue, the sub text, the passion, the heart ache, it’s just magic. The mark of a good story is what goes unsaid as much as what is said. The cast is brilliant, I adore Demelza, and find Ross equally charming and infuriating, and not just because Aidan Turner is ridiculously sexy. There is a rawness to their love that is absolutely fascinating. Their insecurities, their passion, their stubbornness, even the way they flirt with each other. I love it all. Apart from Elizabeth’s interference…that’s for another time.
As a writer of romance fiction, it is a dream to write such a compelling and heart wrenching love story. It’s the same feeling that I have when I read Jane Eyre, how do you get close to such perfection?
I don’t mean that it is a competition, the end goal of anything you write isn’t necessarily that it will be made into a TV series or film adaptation (although that would be incredible). But to touch people, and connect with them, to ignite such a strong reaction in someone to make them form an attachment to a story, that’s the end goal. There’s nothing I love more than reading something and feeling like I found something I can relate to, something that inspires me. The characters come alive, and you stress about them like they’re real people. I love reading something that I can’t stop thinking about.
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes destroyed me, it infected my brain. I found myself in a constant state of anxiety whilst reading it. A novel that made me feel on edge, made me cry, made me examine my own feelings and opinions. It was exhausting by the time I finished. It was such a roller coaster and I was in awe of Jojo Moyes.
And although I like to write comedy along with the romance, I can’t resist a romantic hero/heroine, or anti-hero for that matter. How do you write such a complicated but realistic love story?
For me it’s all about balance. I don’t want to watch or read something that is all rose petals and sonnets, something that doesn’t scratch the surface. Alternatively, I don’t particularly want something that is so raw there isn’t an ounce of optimism to be found. I want something that shows love conquers all but I want it to have enough realism that makes it believable. It’s the light and shade, the contrast that makes it work.
What I love about Elizabeth and Mr Darcy, Jane and Mr Rochester, Ross and Demelza, is that they are equals in their partnerships. On the surface you can look at these couples and scoff and say ‘typical gentleman, falls for a poor girl’ and think it’s cliché. But this isn’t the case, neither of these couples formed because the ladies were admired simply for their beauty, and the men simply for their wealth. What makes them so close to our hearts is that they are equals in spirit. They challenge each other, the women are equally kind but feisty and strong.
I know that these are classic, iconic examples and that this doesn’t necessarily relate to more contemporary literature. But there is something in them that makes me think long and hard about the kind of story I want to tell.
My fascination in literature and film has always been relationships. Call it cheesy that I should have such a fascination but there is so much to learn and explore, so much to question. It is also something that is subjective to each individual. Not everyone has the same definition of love, or the same aspirations. It’s easy to become cynical, but even a pessimist such as myself finds myself clutching my hands in anticipation, waiting to see whether my favourite couple will make it.
So here I am, staring at my computer screen, mid writing, wondering how on earth I’m going to create something real, raw and inspiring. Something I can be proud of, and something that will reach people. Should be a piece of cake right?