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A writing challenge

Posted by Marie on Saturday, August 15, 2015 in , , ,
First, some explanations.

It was almost midnight. I was hanging around with my friends Joko and Jeeves last month in a cafe somewhere in Makati, when the topic of paranormal romance novel series came around. Joko loves these kinds of books to bits (guilty pleasures and all), and she was relishing telling us some of the ludicrous plots from such books. I then claimed that anyone can probably write a romance series (particularly one of those sub-genres, e.g. paranormal romance, horror romance, etc.) with just five set of random keywords.So Joko and Jeeves took me up to my statement, and a writing challenge was made. Here are the rules:

Objective: Develop a romance story out of five random keywords.
Detail #1: The keywords will be chosen by the other two participant.
Detail #2: One of the five random keywords is automatically "vampire".
Detail #3: You get to choose the sub-genre of your romance story.

So here are the other four keywords that Joko and Jeeves chose for me: El Filibusterismo , Darna, Bataan, and Benedict Cumberbatch.

Needless to say, nawindang ako. :-P

Fast forward to this week.One of my book clubs, The Filipino Group, holds bimonthly meme challenges. And what do you know, for the first half of August, the meme challenge is called "Your Romance Novel". That is, you create your own romance novel via a writing structure provided by Tina, the meme challenge facilitator - a perfect opportunity to do Joko's bet. Two birds with one stone, ika nga.

So here we go, my proposed romance story.

Author's name: My own name. I'm going to be proud as hell if this will be published, hahaha!

Your genre: Fantasy Romance

Your novel's romance trope: Tina said to use this page. Browsing through it and because I'm bored with the usual tropes, I think the one that fits the most is "No Romantic Resolution".

Your title: Umm, "The Immortals"? Corny no?

Your setting: Primarily Europe, and the Philippines

Your villain: The fates, I guess

Your main characters / lead interests: 
(I believe that romance books with one character (usually the female) pining/dreaming/pursuing the lead interest (usually the male) is old-fashioned and frankly, boring. Both should be the main characters of the story, regardless of the gender (even if both characters are of the same gender)).

Juan Simoun de Cordoba, Duke of Almodovar del Rio
The son of a wealthy conquistador and a mestizo, he was born in 1650. His father died from a battle with the indios shortly after his birth, and his mother was forced to go back to her family. His first 18 years in the Philippines were happy despite their misfortune, and he was primarily raised by his mother and his Nana Sepang. What he did not know is that his father was the last son of an important family in Spain, and being his only known child, Simoun was his heir. He was forcibly taken from his mother and promptly shipped back to Europe. When he arrived at the Castillo de Almodovar del Rio, he has to quickly learn how to be a nobleman, including how to navigate through the dangerous waters of the royal court, and how to not get assassinated. He secretly swore to himself that he will somehow get back to the Philippines and his mother. But as the year go by, he became so comfortable with the idle life and comfort of being a duke, that he slowly forgot about his promise.

One dark and stormy night, as he got was traveling home from an all night revelry, his carriage was attacked by unknown assailants. All he saw were gleaming eyes. He felt fangs sinking painfully on his neck, then blackness overcame him. When he woke up, he was in his castle once again. During the next few days, he felt drastic changes in his body and spirit: he was becoming a vampire. To avoid suspicion, he left Spain, on the pretense of wanting to travel all over the world. In the next few years (which became decades), he learned through sheer willpower (and with the help of a mysterious mentor) how to adjust to his new life as a creature of the night, how to use his new found powers, and how to obtain some control on his now unavoidable thirst for blood. After a more than half a century he comes back to Almodovar del Rio with a new name, and pretending to be his own son. He then gathered his ducal influence, wealth, and power for a new purpose: to find a way to be human again.

Bernardina Carpio
The daughter of an engkantada and a datu, she was deliberately born to be the savior of the Filipinos against the Spanish invaders. Starting from childhood, she was trained in the art of warfare by her father, and in the art of magic and healing by her mother. She was never given a name (nor knew when she was born), and "Bernardina Carpio" was given to her by her nurse when she grew into adulthood, so that she can blend in with the population.Along with her great strength and immortality, she has the ability to change her skin, which she uses to help the oppressed by transforming herself into people we now recognize as revolutionary leaders or heroes. The downside is that she needs to "sleep" for roughly five years every half a century to recharge.

After two centuries of dedicated service to the cause, Bernardina grew restless. As she walked among the common folks, she grew envious of their freedom to choose their destinies. But she kept her quiet, since she knows her cause is too important, and the she shouldn't be so selfish. That is, until she met the strange brooding man from faraway Europe...

Your one paragraph synopsis (well, in this case, multiple synopses):
In dedication to Joko's vision of a perfect romance story, I see this as a series, at the very least, a trilogy.

Book 1 (1890):
Simoun meets and befriends the young author Jose Rizal. Rizal then takes inspiration from Simoun for his books (particularly the main character of his second book, El Filibusterismo), in exchange for stories about the Philippines. Simoun learns about about the various Philippine folklore and mysticism, including about the legend of the mysterious but powerful Bernardina Carpio. He travels back to his birth country, intent into finding the enigmatic woman, to convince or even force her into curing him. But he did not expect beautiful, untamed and strong Bernardina to be woman of his wildest dreams and eternal longing....

Book 2 (1945):
It has been a difficult decade for Bernardina. World War 2 had taken its toll on the Philippines. With the help of her assistant, the reporter/cartoonist, Mars Ravelo (who had been secretly drawing inspiration from Bernardina for his new comics, Darna), she had traveled all over the country in succor to the sick, the suffering, and the dying. And she felt, a different kind of lethargy too, the one she feels when it's time to go back to the mountains of Montalban for a five-year mystical sleep. But with the US ships on the horizon, and the first blasts of the bombs on Bataan (where Bernadina had established a small secret hospital), the so-called Liberation of the Philippines went underway. In the middle of the battlefield, she did not expect to see the figure of an enigmatic man she had knew quite well, and has dearly loved, from decades ago...

Book 3 (2015):
It is the world premiere of "In Life and Death", a true-to-life action/romance blockbuster starring Benedict Cumberbatch. Set in World War Two, it is the love story of a European and a Filipina meeting in the middle of the battlefield during the deadly Liberation of the Manila. Drawn out of hiding by curiosity and perhaps by destiny, Simoun and Bernardina meets by chance on the steps of the Cultural Center of the Philippines. Will Simoun be able to convince her of to take a chance on him this time around? Will Bernardina be able to be free of her chains and take a chance of happiness with Simoun?

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Is this a go or a bust? Do you think I can dupe someone into publishing this? So what do think?

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