• Cheryl Terra

Behind The Story: Not Another Christmas Movie

Have you ever wondered why I write things the way I do? In the Behind The Story posts, I give you an inside look at the process behind my stories. This edition covers Not Another Christmas Movie.

Not Another Christmas Movie is one of the few stories that grew from the title, rather than being an unnamed entity until it was in its second or third draft. The title got stuck in my head while I was trying very hard not to set any more deadlines for myself, since I was starting a new job, but once it was there, I had to write it.


With a lot of my stories, I read them again weeks and months later, only to see a lot of things I wish I had done differently. Not Another Christmas Movie is not one of them. I’m really happy with how this story went, despite some readers not enjoying the “Hallmark cutaways.” Many others did enjoy that, so I have no regrets about including them.


While none of my characters are truly based on me, a little part of myself is written into this story, though probably not in the way you’re expecting. In one of the many “Hallmark cutaways,” I reference myself a little bit:


Once my hair was brushed and I had changed into jeans and a sweater, I grabbed the present and my keys. If my life were a Hallmark movie, a particularly eagle-eyed viewer would point out that I had no idea where Cole lived, and how could I possibly have gone to his house without knowing his address? The other viewers in the room would shush that person, telling them to just enjoy the damn movie.


And a bit later:


And then he'd grab me and we'd kiss as the golden glow of the sunrise flashed across the yard, making the snow glitter festively as Christmas music played. Cole would conveniently not have morning breath, I would conveniently not have coffee breath, and the credits would roll as he pulled me inside.


Then that one cynical viewer would scoff. "How did she even know where his house was, though? Come on, who can believe that? And who just goes over to someone's house unannounced? She woke him up! I'd be pissed."


That’s right, the asshole who can’t just suspend their disbelief and enjoy the movie is yours truly. My mom refuses to watch Christmas movies with me anymore because she will sit there all teary-eyed and joyful, and I’m in the corner trying not to laugh or complaining because there was a plothole.


So, why did I write an entire story where the schtick/premise was surrounding Hallmark Christmas movies?


Because secretly, I love them. Not watching them, to be fair, but the concept of them in general. Christmas movies tend to revolve around romance. They’re predictable and sweet, they’re silly and nonsensical, and for some reason everyone gives up their dreams to run a bakery in a small town.


Once I had the title inspiration, the rest was a series of “what-ifs” and “whys” to come up with the plot. What could make someone who loved Christmas more than anything turn against it? What if you were interested in someone who turned out to be obsessed with something you hated? Why would someone so whole-heartedly dedicate themselves to spreading joy on a singular holiday?


Then, of course, I had to give them Christmassy names. Nicki, like St. Nick, is obvious enough, but left me with a harder decision for the male love interest’s name. Nick wouldn’t work, obviously, and I wasn’t going to name him Chris or Kris. Cole stuck out when I was browsing through names mostly because I could make the “Nicki gets some Cole in her stocking” joke, and if you haven’t realized it by now, I fucking love stupid jokes like that.


Last but not least, the musical inspiration. This story has Christmas lyrics both at the beginning and end. Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want To Fight Tonight) by the Ramones was my choice for the beginning. I felt like starting the story with a more upbeat, almost-fun-but-not-quite song set a great tone, as did the quote from A Charlie Brown Christmas. The concept of the broken Christmas tree was something I wanted to include from the start.


At the end of the story was Christmas Is The Time To Say I Love You by Billy Squier. Now, I’m usually against characters in romance stories saying “I love you” basically ten seconds into their relationship. You’ll notice in a lot of my other stories, it’s a much bigger deal, and happens after a lot longer.


So why did I have Nicki and Cole say their I-love-yous immediately after becoming a couple?


Well, one, so I could make the “lunch” joke at the end, and two… because it’s kind of just another Christmas movie.


I hope you enjoyed this look behind the scenes! What story should I do next? Let me know in the comments

 

About The Author:


Cheryl Terra writes romance stories for people who hate romance stories, as well as for people who love romance stories. Writing is one of her greatest passions and she can often be found sitting in front of her laptop, ignoring the world around her as she finds elaborate ways for her characters to hook up with each other. When she’s not doing that, Cheryl enjoys knitting, spending time with her pets, annoying her fiancé, and trying to convince people civilization exists in the vast stretch of Canada between Vancouver and Toronto.


 

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