Celluloid Diaries: How romantic movies shaped my writing

Friday, January 9, 2015

How romantic movies shaped my writing

80s romantic movies

I'd like to welcome guest author Stephanie Faris on the blog today. Stephanie is the author of 30 Days Of No Gossip and 25 Roses. When she isn't crafting fiction, she writes for a variety of online websites on the topics of business, technology, and her favorite subject of all-fashion. Today she'll reveal how romantic movies shaped her writing.


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Having been a teen in the 80s, I grew up on romantic movies. My favorite movies as a teen were those set in the high school environment. I assumed it was because I was in school myself at the time, but I didn’t realize someday I’d be a writer, with most of my books set in the school environment.

I got the idea for 25 Roses from my own life experience, but there is an underlying romantic tone throughout the book. That romantic tone is always flavored by the books, TV shows, and movies I enjoyed growing up—they shaped my view of fiction today. Here are five of my all-time favorites, four of which start with the letter “S,” oddly!

Clueless

Every girl loves a good makeover movie, right? That moment when an ordinary girl emerges looking amazing gets us all. Based on Jane Austen’s Emma, Clueless features a privileged girl who decides to help out the less fortunate by providing makeovers and matchmaking services. While 25 Roses has similar elements, unlike Cher in Clueless, Mia is hardly privileged. She helps out her fellow classmates because she relates to always being invisible. She feels as though she is one of them.

clueless

Secret Admirer

I remember seeing Secret Admirer on cable as a teen and loving it. I thought Lori Laughlin was so beautiful and I didn’t see how C. Thomas Howell could see her as a buddy. A secret admirer starts sneaking secret admirer notes into C. Thomas Howell’s locker and he assumes it’s from the prom queen. Because, of course, everyone knows prom queens have nothing better to do than sneak notes into boys’ lockers. I tried the “note in a locker” secret admirer thing when I was in school but it never quite worked out for me!

secret admirer

Sixteen Candles

We all love Sixteen Candles so much because Molly Ringwald’s character is so relatable. She has a crush on a boy who (she thinks) doesn’t even know she’s alive. She feels awkward and invisible compared to her beautiful big sister…Mia has that same feeling about her big sister in 25 Roses. Aside from My So-Called Life, I can’t think of another piece of entertainment that has more accurately depicted what being a teenager is like than Sixteen Candles did.

sixteen candles

She’s All That

Freddie Prinze Jr. bets a friend he can turn the school dork into the prom queen. In the process, he falls in love with her. This film mixes commentary on school hierarchies with that makeover magic we all love.

she's all that

Some Kind of Wonderful

I’m including this one because many of you may have missed it. While Mary Stuart Masterson was a little too hostile to be likeable, I loved the girl-likes-boy-who-likes-other-girl theme of this one. It also makes me feel a little better about the fact that my books seem to focus heavily on the social hierarchy in school.

some kind of wonderful

There they are! I won’t say they all directly influence my writing, but they were partly responsible for my views on romance and high school. I’d be interested to hear what movies influenced other people during their tweens, teens, and early 20s.


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romantic story

About Stephanie's latest novel, 25 Roses:

Mia moves from the shadows to the spotlight when her matchmaking plans go awry in this contemporary M!X novel from the author of 30 Days of No Gossip.

Mia is used to feeling overlooked: her perfect older sister gets all the attention at home, and the popular clique at school are basically experts at ignoring her. So when it’s time for the annual Student Council chocolate rose sale, Mia is prepared to feel even worse. Because even though anyone can buy and send roses to their crushes and friends, the same (popular) people always end up with roses while everyone else gets left out.

Except a twist of fate puts Mia in charge of selling the roses this year—and that means things are going to change. With a little creativity, Mia makes sure the kids who usually leave empty-handed suddenly find themselves the object of someone’s affection. But her scheme starts to unravel when she realizes that being a secret matchmaker isn’t easy—and neither is being in the spotlight.

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71 comments:

  1. 25 Roses sounds very interesting! I adore 80's romantic films and really like books/novels set in the school setting. Movies/TV definielty influence my writing! I think since I grew up with the quirky sarcastic Seinfeld-like shows of the 90s, my writing is very sarcastic <3

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    1. I miss good sitcoms. The ones now aren't quite like they were before reality TV came in and took over the networks.

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  2. Hi Vanessa and Steph ... I think those days were so far away I've forgotten all about them .. I really got hooked into historical romantic books .. but films not a lot - though the classics ('recent') ones I enjoy .. Out of Africa, Notting Hill, Pretty Woman ... but you're writing for the right audience and hitting the mark by the sound of it ... good luck Steph .. and Happy New Year to you both - Hilary

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    1. It's funny--I'm not much of a movie watcher today. Mostly TV shows. At one time I loved movies but now it just seems like too much of a commitment.

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  3. Van romantische films weet ik niet veel. Wel kan ik mij "Sissi" herinneren met Romy Schneider, die films waren voor die tijd natuurlijk super romantisch.

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  4. I admit I'm a sucker for romantic comedies. I was still (just barely) a teen when Sixteen Candles came out, and yes, that depicted the teen years of the 80's perfectly. Next closest one would be Better Off Dead.
    Congratulations, Stephanie!

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    1. I didn't see Sixteen Candles until it came to VHS and I loved it! I saw Better Off Dead around that time and remember loving it, too, but I haven't seen it in years.

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  5. Clueless, 16 Candles and She's All That are definitely among my favorite movies. I'll have to cheek out the other two as I haven't seen either of them!

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    1. They aren't as well know, especially Some Kind of Wonderful. I think it kind of slipped under the radar. I saw it at the theater. Pretty in Pink is another good one, although I had issues with the plot and characters in that one...

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  6. I loved "She's all that"! Huge Freddie Prinze Jr. fan. I'm a sucker for romance movies too and still watch them when I can! My husband hates them. :(

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    1. I wish there were more really good ones now. Or maybe I'm just old and the teen movies today just SEEM like they're all Disney Channel-ish!

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  7. While my high school experience was nothing like Molly Ringwold's in Sixteen Candles, I love that movie so much. I wish my experience had been more like that.

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    1. I think even though it wasn't the same, the character was so relatable because the writer captured the insecurity and awkwardness that comes with being a teenage girl. I think every teenager feels that she doesn't quite fit in, even the ones we thought had it all together.

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  8. I remember every one of these movies growing up in the 80's and they were wonderful. I love these types of stories and as I have begun my own writing career I have based it on a fictional love story as well with a lot of twists and turns of course.

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    1. I think these movies definitely stick in our minds, as do the books we read when we were young. They formed that foundation on which we now view fiction.

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  9. Oh my dog! I used to LOVE that movie Clueless!!! I have seen it a thousand times! haha!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!

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    1. I like "oh my dog." I'm going to have to use it! Clueless was a fun movie. I've actually only seen it once...and it was when it first came out. I don't know why I haven't re-watched it!

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  10. okay here's where my movie lameness comes into play--the only one I saw from this list was Clueless! Such a cute movie. Better get one seeing the rest of these at some point, especially Sixteen Candles since it's such a classic (although I adored Pretty In Pink!)

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    1. You have to see Sixteen Candles if you like Pretty in Pink. You'll love it!

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  11. Some Kind of Wonderful was one of my favorites! I loved Mary Stuart Masterson in that movie. Just now looked her up on imdb to see what she's been up to. I'm not understanding why she hasn't been in more movies than she had been.

    Pretty in Pink, Fresh Horses, and Last American Virgin were some other favorites of mine. Wow, nostalgia!

    Thanks for sharing these. :)

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    1. She did the Law & Order thing--where all actors/actresses go to retire, I guess! Elisabeth Shue is on one of those TV crime shows. They all blend together.

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  12. I loved Clueless (even though I wasn't exactly a teenager....)
    Sounds like a great book!
    Lynne x

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    1. I was already in my 20s by then. I felt too old to enjoy it, but that was okay!

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  13. Quite a shame that I haven't seen some of these movies. Nonetheless, it's great that you were impacted by such movies to become a better writer

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  14. She's all that was such a great movie!!

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    1. I haven't seen it in years. I want to see it again!

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  15. I remember watching Clueless all the time as if it was the teenage Bible. lol Sixteen Candles is a classic. I also love Pretty in Pink and The Breakfast Club. I feel like watching all of these movies now. :)

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  16. AH!! This is such a flash back of my childhood!!! The one you are missing is PRETTY in PINK!

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    1. I didn't care for that one...it bothered me that she had this great male friend who really liked her, then this jerk...I don't know. I just remember greatly disliking the fact that the nice guy lost out to the popular guy! Even though I'm not a big Jon Cryer fan.

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  17. I love romantic movies - and other 80s ones! My best are The Breakfast Club and St. Elmo's Fire!

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    1. The Breakfast Club is one of my all-time favorites, too! I haven't seen St. Elmo's Fire in years. That was one of my first dates...I think it was R, so I'm not sure how we got in!

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  18. She's All That is the only one I've seen out of these. Sounds like a cute concept for the book, although I don't usually go for these romantic easy-reads.

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  19. Lekker ontspannen bij romantische films heerlijk.
    :-))

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  20. What a fun post! I'm having flashbacks to my own teen years with those movies. :)

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  21. For some reason, my fav teen romances were Valley Girl and Real Genius (yeah, not really high school, but college is sort of still teen...) Also, Jon Cryer was great in Pretty In Pink. Now you've made me all nostalgic for the 80s! :)

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  22. This brings back a lot of memories. Clueless was one of my favorite shows.

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  23. You are definitely right about how shows and movies and such shape you writing. My writing is quite persuasive and usually contains quite a bit of imagery. What a great throwback this is :)

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  24. I've never heard of these series, but then I started my 20'ies in the first half of the 80's.
    Funny to read how an author can be inspired.

    OT: the triatlon was last June, not now. But they did have the traditional dip in the sea here the weekend after New Year. I passed, as Always.

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  25. This is an awesome post because it so brought memories back. I always loved the movie Grease also. That had the awesome love story with Olivia turning into more of a gorgeous woman. Thanks for sharing.

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  26. I can't hear Sixteen Candles without thinking of the Bush album Sixteen Stone :P

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  27. These are some really fun movies! I love Sixteen Candles and pull it out every now and again to watch it.

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  28. Van romantische films weet ik niet zoveel, misschien als ik een overzicht zie of zo. Die platen zijn wel romantisch die je ons laat zien!

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  29. Geef mij maar af en toe een romantische film

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  30. Some of my favorite movies! I really feel sorry for the people who didn't grow up in the 80's...classic movies and music. They missed out!

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  31. Well I didn't came to this world until 2000. But The Breakfast Club is one of my favorites movies.

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  32. I love all of those movies! <3

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  33. I haven't seen a single one of these movies that have been mentioned! And I do watch quite a few romance movies myself. It was cool to see how it influenced your writing!

    Check out my post: http://olivia-savannah.blogspot.nl/2015/01/reader-problems-tag.html

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  34. Oh my goodness so many flash backs to these movies I have not thought of in forever. Its always fun to see how movies we have seen influence our writing and our life.

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  35. I remember so many of those movies from when I was a kid. She's All That was one of the first ones I remember Rachel Leigh Cook being in.

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  36. That was a blast from the past... I forgot all about those "oldies" (never thought the day would come when I would say that LOL) 16 candles and Molly Ringwald... one of my favorites

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  37. Sixteen Candles & Clueless are the ones I have loved so much. But I am sure the others would be a great treat too having shaped your writing skills. Thanks for sharing.

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  38. I am sad I missed the giveaway. While I love Clueless and still watch it every so often I do have to say that I think She's All That is a better movie. Being a very poor child of the late 80's/90s, I think it resonated with me more.

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  39. I must have been too busy watching Star Wars and Indiana Jones back then -- never saw any of these!

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  40. I've only seen Clueless from this list. I've heard so often how good Sixteen Candles is, but I think I've moved out of the target audience range :-(

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  41. I only recently saw SOME KIND OF WONDERFUL for the first time, due to buying a DVD that had a few movies on it. I loved it!

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  42. Nice. I also find a great source of inspiration from other places like books and movies.

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  43. Boy, do I love some of those movies. I was born in the 80's but definitely still loved those movies and the romantic comedies of the 90's - full of teenage rebellion and angst. Life seemed so much more simpler back then.

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  44. Wow, I caught only a few of those movies. I'll have to do some catch-up watching.

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  45. Congrats, Stephanie! I've seen Clueless and She's All That before.

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  46. holy cow! I just did some MAJOR FREAKIN' flashbacking right now! love it!!!

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  47. Congrats to Stephanie. I have seen some of these movies, not all. I was a big movie watcher in the 80s and 90s. They definitely shaped my imagination at the time.

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  48. Exciting to see Stephanie here! I've missed a couple of the movies listed here, but was happy to see the inclusion of Some Kind of Wonderful. I agree, not many know it and whenever I refer to it I get a blank stare.

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  49. Reading about these movies brought back many memories for me. I LOVED 16 Candles!! A true classic :)

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  50. Congratulations to Stephanie! Such lovely list of movies! I'm hoping to catch some of them after my Big Bang fest!

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  51. OH ALL THE MOVIES!

    Sixteen candles is hands down one of the single most fabulous flicks out there, right? Right. Love it. I never thought about romantic movies shaping me, as I'm not all that into romance anymore. (Unless it's good, like Outlander) but even then I have to pace myself just in case, you know?

    At anyrate, the book sounds great, and the post was a really fun visit back to the past!

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