At long last, we’ve come to the end of this romantic journey.
I’ve been compiling a category-by-category cheat sheet for the must-haves of any working love story. To read the series from end to end, here are the previous five posts—1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.
The final topic to cover is the conventions of love story.
Conventions differ from obligatory scenes in that they are not formalized beginning, middle and end units of story. Instead they are the milieu of a particular content genre, distinct add-on elements that give the story context, which elicits an emotional response from the reader/viewer.
A convention for a lawn mower is to have a pull cord to get the engine started. You can certainly change that convention to an on/off switch, but whatever choice you make to abide the convention (a force is necessary to begin a chain reaction) you’ll need something to get the engine started. Or you’ll have little chance of cutting the yard.
So conventions evolve over time—like a pull cord to an on/off switch. Some are added and some discarded from a content genre depending upon the cultural context.
Readers intuitively expect them to be present without formally checking that they are. That is, they don’t know that they’re supposed to be there. They just know something’s off when they’re not. The story just doesn’t “feel” right. They don’t emotionally connect to it in the way they’d anticipated.
In Donald Rumsfeld-ian terms, the conventions are UNKNOWN KNOWNS.
If you visit Joanna’s site, you’ll learn something new. That’s a promise—and a personal experience. She’s always teaching and thus I’m always learning when I step into her world. She’s honest with her experiences, clear with her voice, and generous with her knowledge.
The site itself is organized and deep (in both quantity and quality of content)—the product of YEARS of work.
One of the things I like the most about Joanna is that she’s “out there.” She always seems to be traveling (or our correspondence and her travel exist on the same cycle) and taking in the world around her. What I pull in on the other side is a worldview from an author who has a life in and outside of publishing, who has the unique ability of being able to go narrow and understand the big picture, too.