Yay, it's Friday... Blogday!
Before I blather about the movies I watched last weekend, and how they will ultimately make me a better writer, I must share some kid stuff.
As you know - I have two: Sweetness, aka 3 yr old, and Light, aka 8 yr old.
The SMART One:
I got a telephone call from the school principal today informing me that Light has been identified as 'gifted'. My first instinct was ' woo hoo!! I have a smart kid!! ' but that was quickly replaced by ' Shit! I can't fake this parenting thing for much longer. Soon he's going to figure out I have no clue what I'm doing... '
The SMARTASS One:
Daddy and Sweetness are doing crafts at the kitchen table - making aliens (I'm in the other room, but can hear every word) and Daddy says: "Oh, this is a fat one." to which Sweetness replies "Just like Mommy."
Daddy says, "Sweetness, don't say that."
Sweetness, "But it's true, Mommy is fat." (he does have a point)
Daddy, "It's not polite to say things like that."
After a 5 second pause, Sweetness says, "Well then, I can't call you Stupid."
ba da DAH...
And now, the movies...
I Am Legend - starring Will Smith and a dog.
This movie wasn't what I expected! Will's character is a lone survivor living in NYC years after a virus has infected and/or wiped out the entire population. He talks to his dog, hunts wild deer, and tries to find a cure for the virus. Except he's not really alone. Hemocrits (infected people who can't tolerate sunlight) come out after dark looking for blood. Think vampire-zombie hybrid. Will obviously must avoid them.
This movie was like a cross between 28 Days Later (virus, blood sucking zombies, barren city) and Castaway (instead of Tom Hanks talking to a ball and slowly loosing his mind we have Will Smith talking to a dog and slowly loosing his mind).
The Secret Life of Words - starring Sarah Polley and Tim Robbins
A quiet, deep film. Notice I called it a film not a movie. This one has amazingly subtle narrative, rich characters, disturbing content and an interesting setting (an oil platform in the north sea). The kind of film you must pay close attention to in order to experience every nuance.
The plot, in a nutshell: Instead of taking a 'real' vacation from her factory job, Sarah Polley's Hannah chooses to play nurse to a burn victim, Josef (Tim Robbins) who is stuck on a drilling platform until he's well enough to be moved. Josef wants to unburden himself by revealing his secrets while Hannah, a victim of the brutality of war, is desperate to keep hers.
How can I apply what I saw to writing romance?
I Am Legend was a lesson in how to move a plot forward when you don't have the benefit of a secondary character to react to the hero. Samantha may have been a dog, but she was a perfect companion/mentor and his love for her (his need to protect her) provided a critical turning point and, ironically, the black moment.
Lesson: Your heroine CAN be a bitch.
In The Secret Life of Words the two main characters couldn't be more opposite; she's a shy, emotionally-unstable introvert and he's an obnoxiously rude extrovert, but through careful, measured dialogue, they not only come to understand each other, but trust themselves again. Sublety was key. The message was in what the characters didn't say!
Lesson: As a writer, I shouldn't spell everything out -- I should actually trust the reader to read between the lines.
What movies ('scuse me... or films) have positively effected your writing? Please share.