The Heart of the Film : Writing Love Stories in Screenplays book cover
1st Edition

The Heart of the Film
Writing Love Stories in Screenplays

ISBN 9781138201101
Published April 12, 2017 by Routledge
216 Pages

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Book Description

Most movies include a love story, whether it is the central story or a subplot, and knowing how to write a believable relationship is essential to any writer's skill set. Discover the rules and laws of nature at play in a compelling love story and learn and master them. Broken into four sections, The Heart of the Film identifies the critical features of love story development, and explores every variation of this structure as well as a diverse array of relationships and types of love. Author Cynthia Whitcomb has sold over 70 feature-length screenplays and shares the keys to her success in The Heart of the Film, drawing on classic and modern films as well as her own extensive experience.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Love Story Anatomy

Part One: The Meet (Cute and Otherwise)

1. Romantic Comedy Cute Meets

2. Other Meets

3. Old Flames Re-Ignited

4. Married Love Stories

Part Two: The Crack

5. Breaking through the Shell

6. The Wounded Knight

7. The Emotional Crack

8. Humiliation and Low Self Esteem

9. Nakedness

10. Kids and Families and Friends

11. Honesty

12. Drugs and Alcohol

13. Dental Floss

Part Three: Why You?

14. Matchmaking in Movies

15. Twins

16. Opposites

17. Life Force and Sleepwalker

18. Soul Mates

19. The Pressure Cooker effect

20. Specificity: One of a Kind

21. Baby Love: Underage Love Stories

22. Old Love

23. Gender Change/Orientation

Part Four: The Obstacle

24. The Essential Obstacle

25. Animosity, Feuds and War

26. He/She is Married or Engaged

27. Misunderstandings

28. Unavailability

29. Other Obstacles

30. Levels of Character Evolution


Part Five: Putting them All Together

31. Multi-Tasking

32. You’ve Got Mail


Part Six: Styles & Miscellany

33. Platonic Love Stories

34. The Throwdown

35. Sex Scenes

36. The Alternative is Impossible

37. The Symbols of Love

38. The First Golden Age: 1938 - 1942

39. The Second Golden Age of Rom Coms: 1980s – 1990s

40. Endings



Whitcomb’s Top 100 Love Story Films

Old Love Casting List


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Cynthia Whitcomb has sold more than 70 feature-length screenplays, 25 of which have been filmed. Her scripts have won and been nominated for many awards, including the Emmy Award, Cable Ace Award, Edgar Allan Poe Award, Humanitas Award, and Writers Guild of America Awards. Her students have also gone on to write successful box-office hits. She has taught screenwriting for many years, including seven at the acclaimed UCLA Film School.