I’m a little ashamed to admit this, but I got suckered into watching a Hallmark channel Christmas movie last weekend. I always say the same thing every time I finish watching one of those corny things: “Well, that’s two hours of my life that I can never get back.” And yet I let myself get reeled in to watching this particular Hallmark movie because of the plot line—an unpublished romance author signs up for a 5-day writing conference at the aptly named “Mistletoe Inn” and as you can imagine, lots of silly romantic hijinks ensue. All in all, not a bad premise, right? Especially for someone like me who loves reading and writing romance and would undoubtedly connect with the scrappy romance-writing heroine…or so I thought…
First off, our heroine is not scrappy. She doesn’t have a spunky bone in her insecure little self. The heroine—I’ve forgotten her name and don’t care enough to google it, so let’s just call her Crumple Face for our purposes—has never let anyone read the stuff she’s written. Now that’s not entirely unheard of, especially since she’s an aspiring writer and has been tweaking her manuscript for years, and certainly every writer is protective of their book babies and loath to hear criticism. That being said, constructive criticism is par for the course if you want to improve your craft. Oh, and it’s also a part of life that anyone reaching the age of thirtyish like our heroine Crumple Face should surely have experienced by now. Anyway, poor little Crumple Face can scarcely contain her emotions as she embarks upon her 5-day writing conference at the Mistletoe Inn. She’s wide-eyed, excited, nervous, tittering, sometimes physically vibrating with anxiety over people’s responses to her writing. Will they like it? Will they hate it? Will her dreams be crushed? Will she be declared her generation’s next great authoress? Surely the latter!
As you can imagine by the moniker I’ve given our heroine, she does not react well to constructive criticism. Her poor little face immediately crumples with devastation every time she receives feedback on how she can improve her writing, no matter how gently that feedback is packaged inside festive wrapping paper complete with fluffy bow. After a while, I truly enjoyed the movie for Crumple Face’s reactions alone. Picture a toddler running off sobbing with her hands waving overhead because she dropped her lollypop on the ground, only it’s not a toddler, but a fully-grown woman with a complete dearth of coping mechanisms. Hilarious! I started to think the viewer could even make a drinking game out of it: Take a sip every time Crumple Face bursts into tears! We’d all be drunk before the movie was half over.
Now, as one would expect with any Hallmark movie, by the end our heroine learns a few valuable lessons in time to receive that book publishing deal she’s been pining over. Yay, validation! I was nearly rolling off the couch with laughter. Who knew it was that easy? All I could think about was my own struggles getting published and how, after nearly twenty years and a bulging file folder full of publishing/agent rejection letters, I finally sacked the notion of getting traditionally published and self-published instead. In comparison, poor Crumple Face would have launched herself off the nearest cliff after that first rejection form letter.
Writing, folks! It ain’t for the chicken-hearted.