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.

18 comments to “Enchanted”

  1. Alice Audrey
    · January 6th, 2008 at 10:01 am · Link

    Nope. You’re not the last one to see the movie. I haven’t yet.

    I know what you mean about asking the reader to suspend disbelief with a case of silliness. I do the same.

  2. TiffinaC
    · January 6th, 2008 at 1:16 pm · Link

    I haven’t seen it either… 😀

    Because I write paranormal my readers need to suspend disbelief. I’m afraid I’m not a silly person most jokes I make only make me snicker… But if you add a believable note of emotion into the silliness of some novels… well that snags a reader, makes the read engaging… and makes them love the book. That is one huge accomplishment.

    And your stories will do just that.

  3. Renee Lynn Scott
    · January 6th, 2008 at 2:19 pm · Link

    me either.

    I’m sure your stories do what you wish of them and more.

  4. Maura
    · January 6th, 2008 at 2:56 pm · Link

    This is the same thing I posted before without the glaring typo.

    I’ve wanted to see Enchanted since the first time I saw the trailer, but I haven’t made it yet. I will, though, I will!! :0) Fairy tales and romance novels give us hope. The hope is real even if some of the plot devices aren’t. If we get to laugh, too, that’s a bonus!

    Excellent blog, Tessa, and I can’t wait to read your books! :0)

  5. Elyssa Papa
    · January 6th, 2008 at 4:25 pm · Link

    I haven’t seen this movie either.

    But you’re right… I believe we all want to fall in love and romances afford us the opportunity to do so whether we’re single, married, divorced, widowed, what-have-you. So, when the hero does something that might not happen in real life (as in a grand romantic gesture), I don’t question it because I want it to be real.

    Great blog, Tessa… this has provided a lot of food for thought.

  6. Alyssa Goodnight
    · January 6th, 2008 at 4:48 pm · Link

    Perfectly put. You always inspire me.

  7. Susan
    · January 6th, 2008 at 5:09 pm · Link

    I didn’t see the movie, but I love Amy Adams. (see “Junebug.”) And come to think of it, she does look like you. I find her — well, enchanting.

    p.s. Is GOAB the same as SOTS?

  8. Maggie Robinson
    · January 6th, 2008 at 5:21 pm · Link

    I see a bunch of us need to rent a bus and see this movie. I think it’s still playing here in town. 😉

    In my paranormal experiments I have trouble actually throwing in the warlock and the devil because I’m so damn rooted in reality…but I can and I do. And I feel silly.

  9. Marnee Jo
    · January 7th, 2008 at 7:49 am · Link

    I loved this movie. My sister and I laughed through the entire first half. Think snorting laughing. It was that good.

    And you put this perfectly, Tessa.

  10. Santa
    · January 7th, 2008 at 7:50 am · Link

    I haven’t seen it either, so I’ll be on that bus to Maine.

    I’m all for suspended disbelief. Those are the only books and movies I’ll read or see. Real life can, at times, be too chock full of everything else that mucks up the world.

    I concur, love IS all you need….

  11. Lenora Bell
    · January 7th, 2008 at 3:45 pm · Link

    I saw Enchanted two days ago. I was worried that my BF wouldn’t like it (he always picks dark, slow, sad foreign films) but we both loved it. I had never heard of Amy Adams before but she was so fantastic! And I swear while I was watching the movie I thought, “she looks like Tessa Dare.”

    I know readers will be just as enchanted by your books!

  12. lacey kaye
    · January 7th, 2008 at 5:18 pm · Link

    *this blog* is why I read romance. Because fabulous people like you can write a blog about writing, yet I still somehow believe your characters are real.

  13. Darcy Burke
    · January 7th, 2008 at 8:33 pm · Link

    Yes, all of you get on a bus and see this movie at once! I smiled the entire way through it and can’t wait to drag Mr. Burke (I took our daughter). Yes, love is all we need. Great post, T. Keep on love-truckin’! (Good God, I have no idea where that came from.)

  14. Tessa Dare
    · January 7th, 2008 at 9:21 pm · Link

    Well, I guess I’m not the last person in America to see it! But I do recommend it. It’s a really fun flick.

    Susan, Goats on a Boat and Surrender of a Siren are the same book. But the Siren is not one of the Goats. Just so we’ve got that clear. Maybe I should get them to make the title Surrender of the Siren, just so the acronym is SOTS. That’s way better than SOAS.

  15. India Carolina
    · January 7th, 2008 at 11:05 pm · Link

    I haven’t seen it either (sorry to be late to this party, too). Maybe we could all see it in San Fran.

    But I have to protest your assertion that your books are full of cliched phrases. It just ain’t so, girlfriend.

    Last I heard, phrases like: “He reached out his hand and her handkerchief flew into it like a trained dove,” were not cliched. And no, I didn’t have to look that up in your drafts. It stuck with me.

  16. Tessa Dare
    · January 8th, 2008 at 9:26 am · Link

    LOL, India. Okay, I have to quote that part right, just for the record.
    “His hand darted out, and he caught the fluttering scrap of white effortlessly, as though it were a dove trained to fly to his hand.”

    I do like that one, thanks. I’m also rather proud of the kitten’s ear, in GOTH. But you know I have heaven-blue eyes and The Look and The Book and all that, too. Cliches galore. The sad thing is, I didn’t even know some were cliches went I wrote them. I reinvent cliches, it seems.

    Hey, maybe that could be my branding slogan!
    “Tessa Dare: Reinventing Cliche”

  17. terrio
    · January 8th, 2008 at 11:02 am · Link

    Late as usual but I have seen this movie. LOVED IT! My daughter and I went and we applauded during the credits. If you can leave this movie without a smile on your face, there’s just something wrong with you.

    Amy Adams (The Wedding Date) was great and McDreamy proved his Dreaminess once again. *sigh*

    But can I still have a seat on the bus so I can watch it again with the rest of you?

    Tessa – you describe romance perfectly. It’s a lofty goal for my writing but I strive for it anyway. Lucky for me, in 2009, I can study your book to figure out how to do it. *g*

  18. Jackie Barbosa
    · January 8th, 2008 at 2:08 pm · Link

    I adored this movie (I saw it the week it came out, though) and I agree with Sara: you bear a resemblance to Amy Adams. When I showed my husband your picture, he didn’t agree, but I still think it’s true.

    And this was a lovely analysis of both the movie and why I adore reading and writing romance. Sigh. Thanks for the lift :).