Bridesmaids (Zara Stoneley)

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1. What is the genre?

Global—Love Story > Courtship

Secondary—Morality

2. What are the conventions and obligatory scenes for the genre?

Conventions

Triangle:

-Freddie believes Jane is still in love with her ex-fiancé, Andy.

– Andy believes Jane wants to get back together with him and tries to make that happen.

– When they were just flatmates, Jane believed that Freddie had always been in love with a woman Jane did not know and could not compete with.

Helpers and Harmers.

– In front of Freddie, Jane’s mother tells her that he is the type of nice boy Jane should be sticking with.

– Jane’s father, in front of her mother and Freddie, tells Jane, it’s lovely to meet her young man, when the two are only flatmates and have not even kissed yet.

– Jane’s best friend Rachel, teases and encourages her in regard to Jane’s relationship with Freddie.

– In front of Jane, Rachel stands up for Freddie when Sally puts him down as a geek, and Rachel says, “You should see him now, Sal.”

– Andy is a harmer and tries to get back together with Jane because he still wants her and thinks she wants him. He tells her that she hardly knows Freddie and her relationship with him could be over in a few days.

 – Sally is also a harmer, making fun of Freddie because he was a geek in school and says she can’t believe Jane would seriously hook up with him.

Gender Divide.

– Jane’s ex-fiancé, broke off their engagement a week before the wedding because she was too involved with her career and wouldn’t want to be a stay-at-home mum. He also thought she needed to spend more time cooking and ironing just like his mum did.

– Her real love, Freddie, supports her career and does not have a domestic wish list for her to follow.

– Freddie asks her to leave London because he is offered a job in Scotland and that leads to their breakup. But he returns and is willing to give up his own job opportunity so they can stay together.  

External Need:

– Both of Jane’s parents pressure her to find a mate.

– Her best friend thinks she should get together with Freddie.

Opposing Forces: Freddie is Jane’s flatmate and best friend; she fantasizes having a romance with him but is afraid that it could lead to the end of their friendship. Losing his friendship would be so painful, that she will not encourage or initiate a romance between them.

Secrets:

– There not on the page but, Jane and Freddie must share long-term secrets because they tell each other almost everything.

– Jane knows that Freddie has one secret, the identity of a remarkable woman he loves. He does not reveal to her that the woman was always Jane herself, until the final chapter of the novel.

– The second major secret in the novel is that Jane saw a woman, Lexie, kissing Rachel’s fiancé and doesn’t tell Rachel until much later.

– Freddie knows Lexie but keeps this secret from Jane.

– Another secret is that one of the possible bridesmaids opts out of the wedding, because she has a baby and the father is Rachel’s fiancé.

Rituals:

– Freddie and Jane tell the other nearly everything except they are in love with each other.

– They love watching shows together and taking turns picking them out.

Moral Weight: To find authentic love, Freddie and Jane risk their future friendship.

Obligatory Scenes

Lovers Meet: When the story begins, Jane, the protagonist and Freddie are flatmates. A flashback shows they were former school mates who remet at a real estate office.

First Kiss or Intimate Connection: At the 45% point the lovers have their first kiss.

Confession of Love:

– Freddie tells Jane there’s never been another woman, just her.

– With Freddie beside her, Jane tells her ex-fiancé, Andy, that she and Freddie are not just friends. When Andy asks her if she loves Freddie, Jane nods yes.

Lovers Break Up:

– Freddie gets a job offer in Scotland and wants Jane to go with him. She wants to stay in London.

– Freddie doesn’t confide information about her best friend’s fiancé and it upsets Jane because they’ve never kept things from each other before.

– Freddie goes to the Outer Hebrides and doesn’t respond to her calls and texts.

– Jane concludes their relationship is over.

Proof of Love:

– Freddie returns and apologizes for withholding information from Jane and that he does not need to leave to take the job in Scotland.

– Jane tells Freddie he should take the job in Scotland and she can keep working in London for a short while longer. They can make it work.

– Jane admits that she has been scared of Freddie’s perfect, other woman, and that she’s afraid she can never live up to her.

– Freddie tells Jane that the woman he’s always loved is her, just her.

Lovers Reunite: Freddie returns from the Outer Hebrides and meets Jane at the wedding of her best friend Rachel.

Learn more about obligatory scenes and conventions.

3. What is the point of view?

The POV is only from the protagonist, Jane, in first person, present tense.

Learn more about point of view.

4. What are the objects of desire?

External/Conscious—Jane wants to maintain her friendship with her two best friends, Freddie and Rachel.

Internal/Sub-Conscious—She needs honest loving relationships with both of her friends.

Learn more about objects of desire.

5. What is the controlling idea / theme?

Love triumphs when lovers are honest.

Learn more about controlling ideas.

6. What is the beginning hook, middle build and ending payoff?

Beginning Hook: Jane is faced with losing her two best friends after she kisses one of them, Freddie, and withholds from the other, Rachel, that she saw Rachel’s fiancé kissing another woman.

Middle Build: The final days before Rachel’s wedding are complicated by the secrets held by her bridesmaids, and one of those secrets leads to Freddie and Jane breaking up, soon after they began having sex.

Ending Payoff: At the wedding venue and after all the secrets have been told, Jane repairs her friendship with Rachel, and Jane and Freddie commit to being both friends and lovers.

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Story Grid 101: The Five First Principles of the Story Grid Methodology
by Shawn Coyne
What are the first principles in writing a story that works? At Story Grid, it’s easy to get distracted by the tools, spreadsheets, commandments, macro lense, micro lense, and on and on. However, all of this eventually comes back to five first principles. In Story Grid 101, Story Grid founder Shawn Coyne distills 30 years... Read more »
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