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Celebration of Movies!!!

Did you watch the Academy Awards?

I really loved the show, mostly because Colin Firth and The King’s Speech won. Yippee!!! Wasn’t Colin Firth just so witty and charming? And handsome.
What did you think of Anne Hathaway and James Franco as hosts? I thought Anne was beautiful and I loved her changes of clothing, but I’ll leave the fashion assessment to Amanda.
I also thought James Franco had the most amazing smile. It totally transforms his face. He intrigues me, because in addition to being an Academy Award nominee for Best Actor, he’s a Yale Ph.D. student, and he really does seem to put his schoolwork above everything else.
This weekend I’m thinking about movies a lot. I spent the weekend at Inn Boonsboro, the boutique hotel that Nora Roberts renovated in her home town. Fifteen of my Washington Romance Writer friends filled the Inn for an informal writers weekend. More on that experience in my Thursday Blog.
One of the things we did was to watch the movie Die Hard and discuss its “Seven Anchor Scenes,” Lani Diane Rich’s concept about plotting. The seven anchor scenes are those where a turning point occur and the main character makes a decision that furthers his story arc.
I don’t know about seven anchor scenes, but it was fun to discuss the movie as we were watching it. Lots of fun.
While watching the Academy Awards it occurred to me that what movies and books have in common is that, in order for us to like them, they must have interesting characters undergoing some sort of transformation. When we use movie plot structure to help us plot our books (as we were when we watched Die Hard), we should also look to movies to see how they build characters we care about.
Take Colin Firth’s Mr. Darcy….I think why we all love his Mr. Darcy was revealed in his face. Jane Austen didn’t write from the male point of view, so in the book, we only know Darcy from his descriptions and his dialogue. Firth gave us so much more in his interpretation of the character.
And in The King’s Speech, he “showed” us King George VI’s emotional and physical struggle in such a realistic way that we fell in love with the character. But it was because he performed the role so realistically, and that is another lesson for us writers. The emotions and behaviors of our characters have to ring true every time or readers will not be interested in them.
So…Did you see the Academy Awards? Any awards that surprised or disappointed you? If you write, do you look to movies to learn about plotting and character? If you are a reader, do you sometimes “see” books as if they were movies?
Come to Diane’s Blog on Thursday to see more about my weekend at Inn Boonsboro!
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Rachel
11 years ago

When I read I do see books as “movies” I guess. One of my favorites is “Persuading Annie” by Melissa Nathan. It’s a modern update of JA’s “Persuasion” and I love it. One day I was watching a movie and this song came on. It was “In the Sun” by Joseph Arthur and I could just see a scene montage from Persuading Annie in movie form. And that’s when I decided I was going to write the book as a screenplay….more as a challenge to myself than to actually sell it.

I watched the Academy Awards and am intrigued by Franco as well. He really enjoys his studies and I admire that. I thought that Kirk Douglas stole the entire show though and I’m pretty sure he was copping a feel when he led Melissa Leo off-stage.

Mom and I saw The King’s Speech yesterday afternoon and it was amazing. Our local paper ran a story that Franco deserved to win, but I think after seeing so many Firth movies that Firth really deserved the honor. I think knowing the he can talk and act all proud and arrogant and then see him breakdown over not being a king…WOW! Simply amazing.

Also I’ve been watching some old favorite movies lately. Two of them were Bride and Prejudice and Pride and Prejudice (A Latter Day Saints comedy) and realized that the hero of my novel is actually Orlando Seale from Pride and Prejudice: LDS except my guy has blue eyes. I only had this image in my head and then bam! there he was. I went on IMDB to check him out and he intrigues me like Franco does. He’s studied and done so much. What can I say? He’s my new hero. Now if I could only arrange a meet cute between him and I (what? A girl can dream, right?)

Jane George
11 years ago

I watched the Academy Awards for the first time in about ten years. I usually just catch the red carpet pics the next day. I adore film, but the academy’s tastes are frequently not mine and I was burnt out on it.

Last night was my daughter’s first time watching. She’d just seen Black Swan and was rooting for Natalie Portman. Seeing my daughter so engrossed in the glamour and the suspense rekindled my appreciation for what was a fairly boring show.

My favorite dress was Natalie’s. She made pregnancy look transcendant. I also loved Helena Bonham Carter’s new dark magenta hair. But I’m a HBC fan.

I’m a visual artist as well as a writer. When I write, the story moves along exactly like a film. I re-wind alot, but the experience is like I’m living the book inside a movie, if that makes any sense.

Amanda McCabe/Laurel McKee

LOL! I thought all Anne Hathaway’s gowns were really gorgeous, including that vintage Valentino she arrived in. (I listed all my favorites of the night on my blog…). I lost my Oscar bet because I called Supporting Actress wrong (I thought it would be Hailey Steinfeld, who looked adorable)

I usually like James Franco, he’s gorgeous AND brainy, and sorta weird (not to mention crazy hot on General Hospital!), but I think he was on the Pineapple Express last night. 🙂 Which then made Anne H. dial up the perkiness. But I was glad The King’s Speech won.

Louisa Cornell
11 years ago

I didn’t watch the Oscars, but I was pleased at the accolades garnered by The King’s Speech. I haven’t seen the film yet, but everyone I know who has has praised it and Firth’s performance. The subject matter touches me as well. Many of the films made today are on some truly odd subjects!

I do often see scenes from my books in my head in a sort of movie form. Of course it never happens when I am close to my computer and can get it all down! I have to resort to scribbling it down madly on index cards while trying to answer questions like how long to let pumpernickel bread proof before putting it in the oven!

I did look at the photos of the gowns and some of them were really gorgeous this year!

Diane Gaston
11 years ago

Rachel, I once fantasized a whole book from Holst’ The Planets. Loved that story but it couldn’t fit accurate historical detail.

Jane George, of course your daughter saw Black Swan! I love that she got caught up in Oscar excitement.

Amanda, I think Hailey should have gotten the Oscar!
I felt bad that critics panned Anne Hathaway and James Franco’s hosting. They could only do so much with the writing. I loved the opening Inception bit they did.

Louisa, I remember when I used to think about my books at any down time at work.

Rachel
11 years ago

Diane, it sounds like you need to start thinking about writing Steampunk because I’d love to read a book based on The Planets.

Diane Gaston
11 years ago

Hahaha, Rachel. I’m not likely to write Steampunk. My story was set in pre-Civil War America…or rather on the ocean crossing from England to America.

Rachel
11 years ago

Who says Steampunk can’t be pre-Civil War? I mean it’s new enough that it hasn’t been officially defined has it? And I’m sure if you dipped your pen in the proverbial Steampunk ink it would garner even more followers and fans. But I’m at the point where I don’t want to limit myself to one genre. I have a few novels and short stories in my noggin and they are all very different.

Karen D
11 years ago

Before I had 3 children, when I had time to actually lie in bed and think, I would play my story ideas through my head like a movie. I could envision everyone and I just ran through the story scene by scene night after night. Now, well, I have to just write without playing the movie first, for the most part. If I tried to do the “movie in the head” thing first, I would never get any writing done.

Marguerite Kaye
11 years ago

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that Colin Firth’s speach made me cringe – it seemed to me that he’s actually under the impression he’s become the stammering king. It’s a major shame for me, because he is the one and only Mr Darcey, and I’m worried I won’t be able to watch him in P&P again.

When I write, I always imagine my scenes as if they were a movie, and I always have a specific movie star in mind when I’m writing (Daniel Craig as 007 was my model for Struan, hero of my current Undone! Claimed by the Wolf Prince). I find thinking movie especially helps cut out the internal monolgues that I’m prone to – you know the ones where there’s no action and you’re just explaining what the reader already knows. My DH put it succinctly the other day – imagine you’re watching a movie, and the action stops and a narrator walks on stage and says – well, as you know the heroine has just…and the hero thinks…and so the heroine thinks…and now it’s back to the movie!
Diane, I love the idea of a steampunk story set during the civil war, go for it!
marguerite

Diane Gaston
11 years ago

Oh, the pressure! Now Marguerite AND Rachel want me to write Steampunk, pre-Civil War……

Karen D, that’s exactly what I did my whole life. I thought that was what everyone did to fall asleep, so I didn’t think that made me a story-teller. Until much much later in life, after my children were old enough not to need me every minute.

Cara King
11 years ago

Chiming in late here, because I’ve been sick for the last two days….

I was really glad that Colin Firth and Christian Bale won — they both gave great performances, and had equally good performances in the past that didn’t get recognized. (Actually, to my taste, it might have been slightly better if Colin Firth had won last year for his very subtle and emotional performance in A Single Man, and Jeff Bridges had won this year for True Grit — but both actors were great both times!)

However, I was strongly rooting for The Social Network to win best picture and director. I loved the King’s Speech, sure — but somehow to me it had a little bit of “seen this before” or something. Very well done, but mostly on the surface. Maybe I just know the history too well, so the surprises don’t work for me?

But The Social Network was IMHO amazing: the first time I saw it, I left the theater raving about it, and the second time it was even better. It reminds me of Shakespeare: all these characters, and almost every major decision they make in the movie is motivated by anger, resentment, or frustration…and it just builds and builds. Class resentment, the pain and anger from a broken romance or a neglected friendship, resentment at a friend who used to be your equal but is now thought to be your superior in some way… The movie is a symphony that takes all these related threads and creates something amazing with them…

(Okay, sorry for going on so long!)

In other categories, I must admit I was rooting for Annette Bening (I’ve loved her ever since Valmont), but Natalie Portman was definitely worthy.

And I must say I was quietly rooting for Helena Bonham Carter to win! Her performance was really subtle and funny and crucial…

Cara

librarypat
librarypat
11 years ago

Didn’t watch the awards. I usually watch at least the last hour or so, but for some reason didn’t make it this year.

There are some books that trigger the movie thoughts when I read them. It doesn’t happen with every book. There are some that are just perfect for the screen the way they are written. It is almost like they were written as a script with a movie in mind. You can see it while reading the book. I sometimes cast it, but I am not familiar with many of the younger actors. I have seen movies casted on some blogs and I rarely know any of the actors.

Reading some of the comments has me wondering. Doesn’t everyone make up stories to fill down times like when you are trying to fall asleep? I always have.

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