Film Festival fever

CoverIt’s been a famine and now it is a feast. Two really good Press Christchurch Writers Festival events in the last two weeks and more to come, tickets booked for the Arts Festival and last night the opening of the Film Festival.

The theatres were full at 8.15pm for that show-offy Palme d’Or winning The Tree of Life, which officially opened the festival, but a small and select audience was there at 6 for a little gem of a documentary.

Guilty Pleasures was an affectionate look at those pieces of pink perfection –  Mills and Boon novels. There’s one sold every four seconds somewhere in the world  and the film followed some of the product’s more far-flung fans.

Hiroko, from Japan, was so transfixed by the ball-room dancing of Dana and Savannah, the protagonists of one M&B novel, that she spent huge amounts of money learning how to quick-step. Shumita perused piles of titles in the Number 3 Library in Delhi, a shop so full of books it resembled a pink cave, and that wasn’t counting the chest high stacks on the pavement outside.

For those of you who think anyone can write a Mills and Boon novel, Roger has news for you. He writes under the pseudonym Gill Sanderson and would never feature a hero named Roger, or a hero with red hair. So now you know.

If you do think you’ve got what it takes to be a successful romance writer, there’s lots of help out there. The titles are works of art in themselves; try Love writing, or Heart and Craft, or a subject search under Love Stories – Authorship.

And on the subject of Guilty Pleasures – what’s your favourite Mills and Boon? Go on, you know you’ve read at least one in your life – Share!

4 thoughts on “Film Festival fever

  1. Laraine 13 August 2011 / 9:38 am

    “Category” romances (as they are called) are actually very difficult to write because you have to come up with something “new” while also writing the “same old thing” as it were. I have a hearty respect for these writers, while at the same time not liking what they produce.

    Daphne Clair is so versatile she managed to win the Katherine Mansfield Award. If you’ve ever downloaded any of the winning entries in this award, you can hardly fail to notice there is no plot (which means they are NOT stories) and the style of writing draws attention to itself by its pretentiousness.

    I probably read M&B when I was sixteen (I definitely remember reading Denise Robins, though I don’t know whether she wrote for M&B) and I went back to them 15-20 years ago to see if they really were as I remembered.
    They were. I know I didn’t read them for long at age 16; it didn’t take even a year for me to get bored with them. If I want a novel with the basic plot of a category romance novel (i.e., keeping the female and male protagonists together, while also keeping them apart, for most of the novel) I’ll turn to du Maurier’s Rebecca. I still remember the ice that ran down my spine at Max’s confession. I could never understand why Hitchcock had to change this line and completely ruin his film.

  2. Robyn 13 August 2011 / 2:40 pm

    I know! But I still love Rebecca and re-read it every now and then. I quite enjoyed Daphne, Justine Picardie’s novel about Daphne du Maurier. And I would watch the movie again if it came on T.V.

  3. Marion 15 August 2011 / 11:18 am

    I used to read my mother’s copies of the English Woman’s Weekly which had Mills and Boon type stories in serial form. Thankfully real romance came along and rescued me.

    • jane 17 August 2011 / 11:56 am

      Was he a brooding sheik, a passionate doctor, or a secret multi billionaire though?

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