Lesson one assignments, parts 1,2,3.
|Lesson One Assignments
Tony Mancuso is 18 years old, son of Italian immigrants who barely speak English. His parents are blue collar people squeaking out a living. But his family is happy, lots of gatherings, large noisy dinners with a dining room filled with children, grandparents, friends, and laughter. The family is not afraid to show their affection for each other. Tony is close to his grandfather who he goes to often for advice. The girls in Tony's part of town are brash, loud, and more obvious than he likes. Their dark features, plump faces, and street talk turn him off. He likes demure, not brash. Tony is tall, athletically slender, angular, with short, dark curly hair, dark brooding eyes, full lips.
Mary is 17 years old, the daughter of well-to-do parents. Her father is the president of a bank, her mother is an alcoholic. They live in the affluent part of town. Her father would certainly look down on Tony. Mary's family life is lonely and stuffy. Meals are formal, uncomfortable, quiet. Her mother gulps alcohol and eats little. No visitors are allowed because of mom's drunkenness. She finds it impossible to speak to either of her parents, they won't understand her wants and desires.
Tony and Mary see each other at school, in math class. Tony is drawn to her bright features; blond hair, blue eyes, soft, fair skin, her smile. He sees a "glow" around her that he doesn't see around other girls. She looks wholesome, much different from the girls in his part of town. She dresses conservatively, no make-up, no fancy hair styles, no fingernail polish. She's tall and slender. Nothing that brings attention to herself. She moves with a natural grace. Tony has seen her brooding on occasion, eyes downturned and her gaze lost somewhere in the distance. He wonders what is troubling her?
Tony and Mary know each other from school. They have not formally met but each of them has noticed the other at school. They are graduating and Tony invites Mary to his graduation party. This is where she sees how different his family life is compared to hers. Tony's family is noise, friendly, loving, and they laugh loudly. Everyone obviously cares about the other in his family which she finds comforting and 'nice.'
Part Two: Describe your interpretation of Romance, including what your expectations are when you read a romance novel. Do the same for Erotic fiction. Tell me how you think the two genres can be brought together, what elements need to be focused on. This need not be extensive, just enough information for us to work with over the next six weeks.
I think the major difference between Romance and Erotica is in the lead-up to the sex scene. Anticipation is one of the best aphrodisiacs. When I read a romance novel, and as a guy I don't admit that to anyone, especially since Nicholas Sparks is my favorite in that genre, even though his stories can be a bit predictable and sappy.
I have found that most Erotica Fiction stories are all about the sex scene, and for me that's a turn off. Where is the anticipation? Where is the drama? Where is the nail biting? Good erotica will provide more than just 'wham-bam-thank-you-mam stories, but good erotica is hard to find.
In romance, there should be a story. The couple should meet, there should be some awkwardness, even it by only one of the characters. And most important, I should be able to see the attraction the characters have for each other. And finally, the story should be one I want to read.
My favorite romance stories are those about first love. To me there isn't much that is more beautiful than two people finding love for the first time in their lives.
Tony at the soda shop.
Clusters of teenagers filled the vinyl booths of the soda shop as Tony stepped inside and closed the door behind him, then took a seat with a couple of his friends. Tony thought he knew the girl standing at the jukebox, her tall, slender body looked familiar. Her golden blond hair fell forward, hiding her face as she looked down to study the list of musical selections. She hooked her hair behind her ears and Tony recognized her profile. "That's Mary," he said to no one in particular. His friends turned in unison and followed Tony's gaze.
"You know her?" Glenn asked, keeping his gaze on the girl.
"Not really," Tony said and turned back to his friends. "I see her at school, she's in my math class." Tony didn't tell his friends that he knew Mary a little more than just casually, but not nearly as well as he wanted to.
Ice cubes clinked in Tony's glass as he put it to his lips and sipped his coke, his eyes peering over the rim at Mary. He had tried to ask her out, twice. But each time he approached her the words he had practiced for days flew out of his brain. Instead of asking her out he stood in front of her, stammering and stuttering, and feeling like a fool. When he walked away without having asked Mary for a date, and confused by his inability to talk coherently, he felt like a jerk, . He never had this problem with girls before.
With graduation only a few days away, Tony knew that if he wanted a date with Mary he would have to ask her soon. Maybe I can ask her to come to my graduation party, he wondered. But the party would be at his house, attended mostly by his friends and family, and he wondered if that was such a good idea. First dates should be interesting, he thought. As he watched her standing at the jukebox, the fluttering he always felt when he saw her began in his stomach.
A few minutes later, Tony watched Mary saying good bye to her friends and walk to the door. He suddenly stood and told his friends he would see them at the party and hurried out the door. He saw Mary walking, her blond curls bobbing with each step, and he walked quickly to catch up with her. "It's now or never," he mumbled as he followed behind her taking deep breaths, trying to calm down.
Unlike most of the girls Tony knew who wore makeup and acted like being pretty was an accomplishment; Mary was different. Mary kept her skin clean and unadorned. He liked the way her blond curls fell to her shoulders, framing her oval face. Above high cheek bones her denim-blue eyes sparkled when she smiled. She was wearing black pedal pushers, a clean, crisp white blouse, and white Keds, a wholesome look Tony found refreshing.
Tony looked down at his faded blue jeans and sneakers that had seen better days and hesitated, wondering if he should put this off for another day, a day when he was dressed better. He watched Mary moving farther away. He rubbed his sweaty palms on his thighs and took a deep breath and resumed walking; only now he walked faster.
His feet drummed on the cracked sidewalk as he came close to Mary and she turned, looking over her shoulder, and smiled. Tony felt his face flush.
"Hi, Tony," she said as he walked next to her.
"Mind if I walk with you?" he asked.
"No, not at all. I don't live far."
Tony knew where she lived, he had walked past her house many times hoping to see her. Her father was sitting on the front porch one time as Tony walked by and Tony could see from the way that he frowned that Mary's father knew Tony didn't belong in that neighborhood.
Tony was glad Mary slowed her pace, that would give him more time to get up the nerve to ask her out, even if it was just to a party at his house.
They talked about school and their plans for after graduation. Mary was going to go to college upstate, the same school her father had attended. She frowned and told Tony she was going to take Finance as a major.
"You don't look too happy about that."
"Well, my father is kind of pushing me in that direction."
After a short silence Tony took a deep breath and asked, "Do you have plans for Friday night?" He held his breath and curled his fingers into a tight fist as he waited for her to answer.
Mary's forehead furrowed as she narrowed her eyes in thought. "Actually, I'm free Friday night. My father is taking me and mom to the club on Saturday. It's my birthday, I'll finally be eighteen." She stopped walking and turned to Tony, a smile wavered on her lips. "Are you asking me out, Tony?" she asked.
"Um, well, I was thinking." Tony stopped talking and drew in a deep breath. "Yes, I am, but it's just a party at my house. If you don't want to go I'll understand."
"Why do you think I wouldn't want to go to a party at your house?" she asked, her head tilted to one side.
"I don't know, maybe you would think it was boring."
"Actually, I've been hoping you would ask me out." Her eyes sparkled as she smiled. "I would love to go to a party at your house." She reached out and touched his arm. "With you."
"So you'll be there," his fists unballed. "I mean I'll come pick you up, that way it's like a real date." He felt his stomach tighten as Mary fell silent.
"Maybe it would be better if you didn't come pick me up. Just tell me where you live and what time I should be there."
Tony's shoulders sagged. "So it won't be like a date then?"
"Yes, it will be a date." She took his hand as they began walking again.
A block away from where Tony knew she lived, Mary let go of his hand and turned to him. "You don't need to walk me all the way home."
"But I don't mind, really."
"I know. But it would be better if I walked the rest of the way alone." She watched Tony's eyes cloud over with doubt.
"I see..." he said and turned. "Will I see you Friday night?"
She reached out and touched his arm. "I'll be there, Tony."
"It's a date." She turned and walked slowly up the street.