Monday, November 24, 2014

Conference Report: Anthony Ehlers on a Plotter's Guide to Romance

Anthony Ehlers led a workshop on Sunday morning at #ROSACon2014 on 'Classic Love Stories: a Plotter's Guide to Romance'. Thanks to Lorna Senior for this report.

Report by Lorna Senior

All love stories are a search for a soulmate. This concept comes from Zeus having split humans in two and banished the halves to opposite ends of the earth. Hence the term ‘other half’ which suggest we are never complete without this mate.

Anthony talked about a few of the original romances, eg Romeo and Juliet, Wuthering Heights and Pride and Prejudice, illustrating that romance stories all have shared elements.
For example, the stories start with a magnetic attraction which includes a sense of the forbidden. This is followed by a brief moment of happiness then the lovers are ripped apart and everything seems impossible. It’s important to delay the reunion to create yearning. At last, there is happiness at the final rejoining of both body and spirit and the ultimate freedom.

It’s interesting to notice that early romances were frequently tragedies suggesting that the ultimate rejoining could only be attained by death eg Romeo and Juliet, but contemporary romances have the happy ever afters, which is our ultimate wish fulfilment.

Anthony also illustrated the importance of virtue being rewarded and pointed out the heroine couldn’t be a bitch! The readers have to believe that she is deserving of endless love.

It was a fun and informative talk and Anthony suggested that we all reconnect with the classics. Another very enjoyable and informative presentation in a fantastic conference.


  1. Scarlett O'Hara, Gone With The Wind's heroine is a total bitch. Isn't GWTW a love story?

  2. Thanks, I missed that session and am glad to get a breakdown of it. Elaine, I would never consider that a romance. I hated the ending!!