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How the Movie, Past Lives, can make you a Better Romance Writer…

February 15, 2024

I saw the movie Past Lives and I haven’t been able to get it out of my mind.

It’s such a rare treat when a romance transcended to the big screen really hits all the sweet spots. This is the type of movie that reminds me of a book, the words sing and dance in my brain for days after, leaving me with the most pleasant, buzzy hangover. It’s a rush all book lovers chase, and being a huge movie lover (my son is a film student) when I see a great movie that I just fall hard for, I’m high for a while.

Past Lives did that for me. This is the line I can’t keep going over and over like a mantra.

**Small spoiler alerts ahead!**

“What if this is a past life as well, and we are already something else to each other in our next life? Who d you think we are then?

The last scene haunts me.

Maybe because it reminds me of a time in my life I thought things were going one way and I ended up in a complete other life. In my past, there was someone I loved that I convinced myself was my Fate. But as time passed, I realize even if our souls connected, we were never meant to be in this lifetime. We didn’t fit. I found myself on a completely different path I never imagined, and cannot even think of myself anywhere else.

But sometimes…once in a while…I wonder if I made a different choice all those years ago and am living it now, in another life. A past life.

These are the types of questions that create a romantic, emotional story that will never be forgotten. Within this movie, there were subtle layers delicately revealed to the moviegoer, feed to us in slow, deliberate actions that lead to the ending. Which gives us another lesson.

The art of emotional subtlety. I am one who loves a good, intense dramatic scene like any other reader. Drama feeds my soul. But I was reminded watching Past Lives that some of the most powerful emotions lay beyond words. It is within the silence. The melancholy of thought. The remembrance of the past. The secrets in the heart.

Go there for the big payoff. Because that is where we are essentially human and connected.

I’m grateful for all of the amazing art out there – the creative genius of so much variety, from music to books to movies to art to blogs—that inspire me to dig deeper.

As artists, we need to sow more of these seeds to cultivate, so our stories grow full and fruitful.

This is the stuff that satisfies readers.

I am thankful for the reminder.



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