Okay, so I’m the last person in America to see this movie. But I’m so glad I finally did – and NOT because I look anything like Amy Adams, as Sara Lindsey seems to think (although perhaps I share her character’s goofiness), but because it was the cinematic equivalent of what I’m trying to do when I write romance.
My books are silly. They’re filled with cliche’d phrases and plot elements, and (in)conveniently timed interruptions. It’s a self-conscious silliness. As a genre, romance asks the reader to accept a lot of improbable situations. It makes me think of the White Queen telling Alice that she too could believe six impossible things before breakfast, if only she practiced. Some writers are able to sketch such vivid pictures of their world and characters, that I can believe those six impossible things. With other books, I simply skim past my disbelief and try to enjoy the story for what it is: a modern fairy tale.
I’m not such an accomplished historian or student of human nature that I could fall into the first category. So my goal is never to ask the reader to suspend disbelief. You’re encouraged to disbelieve the absurdity of the situations in my books – my characters can hardly believe it themselves. Laugh with my books, laugh at my books – I don’t really care. But while you’re laughing, I’m going to sneak some real emotion in there.
This is why Enchanted makes even the most jaded hearts melt – it wins the viewer over with self-deprecation and full-on silliness. No, don’t believe in fairy tales, the movie insists. They’re ridiculous and impossible. But love is real, and there’s no shame in wanting to believe in that. First the humor disarms, then the romance enchants. And it works!
That’s exactly what I want to do with my books. I’m not asking you to believe that all hoydens are plucky, all earls are good-looking, and all virgins are orgasmic with the right guy. I’m just asking you to believe in love. Because we all want to, deep down.