Jumping to the wrong conclusion

By drafting a plan of obstacles to the couple's romance, as shown in Figure 7, we can see at a glance how they will fit into the storyline.

One of the most effective obstacles is the romantic hero and heroine's unerring talent for jumping to the wrong conclusion, as shown in Frame 5.

Sally's relationship with married Mark is rocky.

Sally tells Mark they are finished. She meets Nick, a new cameraman.

Nick asks her out. She refuses. Mark offers her promotion on condition that she continues their affair.

She is level-headed in a crisis. She tells Mark she needs time to think. She bumps into Nick as she leaves the building.

He senses something is wrong. They go for a drink.

Despite her problems, Sally finds herself falling for Nick.

He takes her home and stays the night. He persuades her to stand up to Mark.

The following afternoon Sally overhears Nick deep in conversation with Mark. She mistakenly believes they are conspiring against her.

Sally fights with Nick, refusing to listen to his explanation.

She resigns and walks out.

At home, the phone rings constantly but she ignores it.

Job and romance prospects gone, Sally goes to stay with her mother in France. Sophie is spiteful and Sally miserable.

Nick arrives in France. A studio is looking for an 'anchor'for the main news.

This was what he'd been discussing with Mark, trying to persuade him to let Sally go.

Everything is wonderful. Sally is in love and plans to return to the UK and take up the new job.

Then she sees Nick going into Sophie's room.

Nick denies being in Sophie's room but in the middle of a romantic meal with Sally, Sophie bursts in screaming.

Nick bustles her outside and into his car and they drive off.

Hurt and angry, Sally returns immediately to the UK and throws herself into her new job. She manages to break the hold Mark has over her but she can't get over Nick. Then, she sees him in the studio.

At first, she resists his attempts to talk to her until Sophie arrives and confesses that Nick was helping her kick her drug habit. Finally, Sally realises she can trust Nick and they confess their love.

Fig. 7. Plan of obstacles to romance (based on Figure 4). Sally ends affair with Mark and falls in love with Nick. Her emotional background prevents her from embarking on a new relationship. Finally, Nick wins her over and they achieve the requisite happy ending.

Sally's immediate reaction when she discovers Mark and Nick in conversation is to assume they are plotting against her. It never occurs to her that Nick might be trying to help her but if it did, she would thoroughly resent his interference. Either way, he cannot win.

The next misunderstanding occurs in Frame 10, with Nick's attention to Sophie. It is her fear of losing him to her spiteful step-sister that prompts Sally's ill-judged behaviour. Meanwhile, it is a combination of pride and integrity on Nick's part which governs his reactions.

Remember that, however many obstacles we throw in her path, Sally must have overcome them by the end of the book.

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