Classic Love on Inspired Prompt

What a month we’ve had at Inspired Prompt, as our crew shared their favorite classic love stories. What makes a story classic?

Maybe it’s the prose. The beautiful poetic structure, word upon word, building a bridge between two people. No, more than a bridge, because it’s paving the way for when two become one. It’s the cry of the heart. Do you have a favorite quote from a classic romance?

We’d love for you to share it in the comments section, or find us on Facebook – on the Inspired Prompt Crew page.

Join us right here in March for a topic that grips the writer’s heart—The Emotional Highs and Lows of Writing.

Click-to-Tweet: A month of Classic Love on Inspired Prompt via @InspiredPrompt, @batowens, and @jenlhall63

Anne and Gilbert: My Favorite Romance

By Candace West

Getting smacked with a slate was not how Gilbert Blythe expected to fall in love. I daresay most of us would avoid such a head-splitting blow to the heart. When L.M. Montgomery first penned that scene, I doubt she knew she was writing one of the most beloved romances of all time. Yet it works. It charms us. A skinny, red-headed orphan loses her temper to a teasing flirt who in turn loses his heart. From that smack until Anne and Gilbert share their first kiss, we hold our breath.

Conflict between enemies turns eventually into conflict between two friends, one of them in love with the other. Can a story get any better than unrequited love? We agonize with Gilbert while we itch to shake Anne by the shoulders (even though we love her). The perfect guy is right under her nose, but she is blind. Bravo, L.M. Montgomery! You snagged our hearts forever!

Why, then, did it take three books for Gilbert and Anne to get it right? I think Lucy Montgomery would tip back her head and laugh at this digital, high-speed, instant gratification world. She instinctively knew that the future Blythe’s needed time. Gilbert had to first grow into a man shaped by his experiences. Anne had to taste freedom, independence, and a touch of romance before she could comprehend her “book of Revelation.” Their characters mature and strengthen, preparing them for that perfect moment that would otherwise be unperfect without it. Just as a rippling creek smooths and shapes the rocks beneath, time and trials shape Anne and Gilbert for that perfect moment when their love is ready.

Even now, their romance is timeless. Just the mention of Anne and Gilbert makes so many of us weak-kneed. This kind of effect does not happen at the whim of an author’s pen. Authors must develop it. Like the reader, they must get acquainted with every character to make a story live in the imagination. By investing time into characters, authors blur the lines between fiction and reality. By the story’s end, we feel like those characters really lived.

The result? A story we forever remember.

I am so glad Lucy gave Gilbert and Anne all the time they needed.

Click to Tweet: “I think Lucy Montgomery would tip back her head and laugh at this digital, high-speed, instant gratification world.”

Writing Prompt

Your characters have known each other since childhood. How do you plan to help them realize they care deeply for one another?

More about Candace West:

Amazon: Lane Steen

Connect with Candace West Posey here:

Gaudy Night: A Different Kind of Love Story

By Jennifer Hallmark

For any of you that know me at all, it’s no secret that the “Golden Age of Detective Fiction” is one of my favorite genres to read. I think it has something to do with my dad and I watching PBS together on a little black and white television, timeless stories about Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot, and Lord Peter Wimsey.

But what does that have to do with our month of love stories? For crying out loud,  it’s Valentine’s Day. The perfect time for an epic romance. I understand. And for a book to be extra-special to me, there has to be an element of romance. I need the hero and heroine to feel the spark between them, for them to agree and disagree, fight and love. Add to that, the main characters working together to solve a mystery and it can’t get any better.

Gaudy Night by Dorothy Sayers combines all of the above and more. Our hero, slash crime solver, Lord Peter Wimsey, loves Harriet Vane, a woman he saved from being falsely accused of the murder of her lover. Harriet is sick of all men and won’t even pretend to love Lord Peter. But he never gives up pursuing her. (I love that!)

In this tenth book by Dorothy Sayers, the third to involve Miss Vane, Harriet goes back to her old Alma Mater, Shrewsbury All-Female college as part of a journey of self-discovery. She raises all the questions: Who am I? Why have I struggled? What do I really want to do in my career? Who do I love?

Harriet’s bravery to attempt this inner journey while trying to solve a mystery at the college creates a wonderful story. Peter’s ability to let Harriet find her own way without his help is masterfully written and makes me enjoy his character even more.

To me, what makes this novel work is the chemistry between Harriet and Peter. They both are learning about themselves and each other and the world they live in that is moving toward World War II. Dorothy Sayers dives deeply into their inner thoughts and makes it all so real I feel like I know them. That’s great writing.

And the perfect ending with all the ooh’s and aah’s, the romance, the kiss. I’ve read the book countless times, sometimes just skipping around to my favorite parts. It might just be time to read it again.

If you have time, read all of Sayer’s books starting with Whose Body? and you’ll find the experience of reading Gaudy Night even richer.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Click to tweet: Gaudy Night by Dorothy Sayers. Mystery or romance or both? @InspiredPrompt #amwritingromance #ValentinesDay

Do you like mystery and romance combined better than romance alone? I’d love for you to share a favorite mystery/romance with our readers.