What Makes A Love Story

I wrote this article for Kelly Steele’s blog in June of Last year, I thought I’d share it on my blog too *smile.


I recently watched the movie The Lake House for the hundredth time. It’s become one of my favourite romantic dramas. These two people who fall in love with each other through writing letters because one lived in the past in the other in the future. Talk about having problems! *smile*

So, of course, I did some ‘cyber-stalking’ because I haven’t read anything about Keanu Reeves in a while. (Let’s just take a moment‒Keanu Reeves *deep sigh*) The man does a very good job of staying out of the entertainment news *thumbs up* And I stumbled on an interview done by Keanu and Sandra Bullock about the movie (http://bitly.com/1KgejJj ).


After a series of questions, the journalist asked them a question that had the writer in me sitting up. He asked, “What’s your definition of a good love story?”

At this point Sandra had answered all the questions first, but for some reason Keanu responded first this time and his response had me re-evaluating my current writing project.

He answered, “A good love story is a story of passion. It starts with that first look — I believe in love at first sight. You want that connection, and then you want some problems. You want them to have to fight to be together, maybe even have an epic battle, like they have to figure out how to break the boundaries of time. And then there’s a good kiss. I think this film qualifies.”

Obviously he’d stuck closely to the plot of The Lake House *grin* But there’s a level of truth here that the romance writer in me couldn’t ignore. A good love story needs passion, he’s right. But believable passion. It can be created on such a subtle and sophisticated way as letters written across time itself, where the actions and emotions of the characters drives the mutual attraction through their words and sharing. Or it can be an instant bolt of lightning that freezes the characters into ‘seeing’ the other for the first time and literally being stunned into stillness at the realization on a subconscious or conscious level, that this person’s going to become significant to them. Hence the ‘love at first sight’.

The connection’s established and like he said, then come ‘the problems’. The stakes. What keeps them apart? This shouldn’t be something that could be solved by a simple conversation. It should create enough relevant tension and suspense that it’s either (in my opinion) a ‘fight against outside forces to stay together’ or a ‘fight against their inner demons to stay together’ or both. And then there’s the HEA. Sounds simple right?



As a new author I’m still learning, I can’t say I’ve figured out all the kinks to writing and don’t think I ever will. It’s a skill I’m constantly working on. Keanu’s quote stood out to me because he explained what a good love story meant to him, and as much as views differ, there’s a universal feel to his view point. I believe there are some great tips in what he said and have applied them to my current WIP. I hope his summary of a good love story also inspires you to write your version of one.


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