Last week I ran a workshop at a writers’ event organised by Alex Davies, somewhere in the rainy hills near Buxton. Afterwards I stayed, and really enjoyed, the rest of the days events: the reading and critique sessions, and the session when we all sat down to write together, something I’ve never done before (although bearing in mind we just chatted for an hour or so I’m not sure I’ll be doing it again.)
Anyway, on to the point of all this. As part of the event I described my first fiction sales- romances for My Weekly and People’s Friend. My advice to all would be writers is to try your hand at a 1000 word romance. It’s a great discipline, in that it forces you to think about two characters, and to show (not tell) why they find each other attractive. Oscar Hammerstein once commented on the difficulty of having to find yet another way to write about love. A romance may always be the same story (girl meets boy, they initially don’t find each other attractive but they come together in the end), but this simple framework allows you to really practice the craft of being a writer.
Which brings me to FlashForward. I don’t care that it ended on a cliff hanger that will never be resolved now the second series won’t be made. I don’t think I could have been bothered to watch the second series, as I’m rapidly losing faith that US serials will ever resolve as long as there is money to be made. But that’s not what irritated me about the show.
No, what niggled at me all the way through was the fake romance between Bryce and Keiko. If you didn’t see the series, right at the beginning Bryce and Keiko had a vision that they would meet in the future, and they then spend 22 episodes trying to find each other.
Why? What did they have in common? What did they find attractive in each other’s characters? The answer, of course, is nothing. All they knew was that the other was good looking. That’s not romance, that’s just seeing a pretty face.
And as far as romance is concerned, it’s bad writing.