It’s Valentine’s Day here at the Carina Press blog and I’ve been thinking about the elements of romance and, not coincidentally, the elements of romance fiction. The other day on TV I saw a commercial for these chocolate diamonds which are supposed to be very special but just reek to me of gimmicky consumer manipulation. Instead of a classic, crisp, sparkling jewel, you get something that looks like it was dropped in coffee too many times. I get the need to be different, but sometimes a classic is a classic for a reason and doesn’t need to be changed.
In researching a different bit of writing the other day I came across a discussion from a few years back of the most hated cliches in detective fiction. After a bit of discussion of some of the most common cliches, the discussion veered off into a side discussion of whether the cliche was the issue or if the execution of the cliche was the problem. We’ve all seen tired and worn-out story elements and stock characters revived and renewed in the hands of a master. We’ve also all reveled in a book or movie or television show that may not have broken any new ground, but did everything we as a reader or viewer wanted it to do and did it well.
This is also true in real life. Many an hour has been spent trying to plan a unique date or a unique proposal or any other extreme way to differentiate our actions from those that came before it, but most times it’s not the gimmick that works, it’s the person behind the gimmick. So as we celebrate Valentine’s Day here as readers, and writers, and husbands, wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, and proud singles, let’s remember that it’s all about the heart and soul of something more than the gimmick.
What current novels, movies, or TV shows do well with the classical elements of fiction?