Monday, July 9, 2012

When You Don't Think It's Going to Work

I'm not sure if I was supposed to blog today, but I think so. Checking in at 11 pm on Sunday night and Bo'sun doesn't have a post is a pretty good sign. I guess now would not be a good time to panic. We've all been on that bender, right, where you're on vacation for like five days, you're still fantasizing about Channing Tatum, your boyfriend's in town, and you're playing catch up on cleaning and laundry. Sure, you have. Some of you do it with kids too--bunch of show offs.

Despite my amazing abilities to create analogies out of the most obscure things, I have yet to find a blog of how watching MAGIC MIKE can improve your writing. I mean, I'm sure there's a blog for that; I'm willing to watch the movie several more times to write that blog; but I haven't found the spark yet. Too busy staring at Channing's abs, I suppose.

Today, though, I took my nieces to see BRAVE, which has a better chance of finding something more meaningful for your writing. I like to watch movies for the Black Moment--to see how it's done and hopefully to incorporate it in my writing. The Black Moment is a fine line, isn't it? EVERYTHING is lost--you've had hope all this time. You're holding your breath that it can still work out, and nope, the very thing the hero or heroine wanted most is denied. Usually through a fault of their own, something like a too little too late and they know it.

In BRAVE, when the heroine tries to change her destiny, she makes a request through a witch for a spell to "change her mother." Only she's not real specific about it--and her mom gets turned into a bear. When I heard this, I had some doubts, but actually it's pretty good. They bonded as daughter and bear, much more than they bonded as mother and daughter. So when it comes to the BLACK MOMENT, which my oldest of the nieces said, "It's that Beauty and the Beast moment", we were all crying because like the heroine, we were all sorry this wasn't turning out despite all her hard work to change things.

Anyway, this all makes me think: what does my character want most? Why is this wrong for them? How can I show them that their "utmost desires" is in actual conflict with what they actually need? How can I make it bittersweet and funny too? What scenes can come of the complications that arise from them not getting exactly what they want--how do they make the best of it, and what do they learn? Then, in the end, how do I show the worst of all possible endings, but still save it in the end?

I think Disney movies especially are great for these sorts of arcs; and I think thinking about them can help you brainstorm in your initial storytelling and later in your revisions when you're thinking about how to strengthen your book with shadowing and deeper storytelling.

What are some of your favorite movies and their Black Moments? Do you think about them or try to figure out how to learn from them? (Or am I the only weirdo there?) Has anyone else seen BRAVE (or MAGIC MIKE)? Do you like Disney's Black-Black Moments?

18 comments:

Maureen said...

What movie did I just go see not long ago...? Steph and I...no, that's right, I saw MadagascarIII. Black moment, black moment...black moment.

It's hard to not think about the hippo and giraffe dancing on a highwire to a pop song...

Well, no one is really going to get what they want...the zoo animals think they get what they want, after they figured out they didn't want it...

It's too late for me to think about this. And now all I hear is the song the hirewire act was set to...

Damn it.

Madagascar wasn't Disney...I don't think... I'll work on this more tomorrow...when I'm actually alert and awake...

Great party this weekend for Mom, so I'm still wiped by it all...

Marnee Bailey said...

I haven't seen Brave yet. My oldest is really sensitive and I saw it was PG, so I was worried it might have a little more suspense than he likes. :( We'll probably wait until it's out on DVD.

But, I love the black moment in Tangled. Anyone else see that? When he's all dying and she's trying to save him even if it means she needs to be a prisoner for the rest of her life and he uses his last breath to cut off her hair and free her? And then she's crying all over him and they're confessing their love as he dies? Fantastic.

LOL!!

I haven't seen Magic Mike yet but I confess I'm buying into the hype on this one. WHat's not to love about a mostly naked Channing Tatum? I don't know if I'll get to the theatre to see it, but we'll see.

TerriOsburn said...

Turned off the light last night and a voice in my head said, "You're supposed to blog tomorrow." I was so tired I went, "Meh. I'll put something up in the morning." So now I REALLY owe Hellie.

I have not seen either of these movies and I'm very perturbed about that. As of now, I'm hoping Magic Mike is still in the theaters the weekend of the 21st. (Should be, right??) My mom and sister are coming into town to house/pet sit while I'm in Cali, so we can all three go that weekend. It can be my mom's birthday present. :)

I didn't know the mom got turned into a bear. Thanks for the spoiler!

MsHellion said...

Mo, I didn't mean to restrict this to Disney--I meant to keep this open to all movies, so if Madagascar works for you, I'm more than happy to hear about it. (I'm not a Madagascar fan myself, but I know kids who love it. *LOL* AND Adults!)

The movie doesn't even have to be animated!

But I was thinking about the Black Moment in Magic Mike--and it just doesn't have the drama of the "rebirth" or "works out like magic" appeal that Disney gives its stories. Probably since real life stories don't work like Disney, but whatever.

MsHellion said...

Marn, my great-niece Mahala (5) crawled into her mommy's lap about the point that the bears were really whomping it up and scaring the bejeezus out of everyone. So it's a little dark and tense at spots.

I have Tangled! I love that too...and yes, when he sacrifices himself to save her even though she was trying to save him...OMG! Yes! I love that stuff! *sighs* The drama, but the HEA of that. *sighs* So romantic. (Not real, but romantic! *LOL*)

MsHellion said...

Yeah, I think Magic Mike will make it a few more weeks. *LOL*

I think I saw that as a spoiler at another site, so I knew going into it that mom was going to turn into a bear. I hope I didn't spoil that much!

The only thing you owe me is better communication. *LOL*

TerriOsburn said...

I have only so many brain cells and three straight weeks of revisions on top of getting ready for this conference has fried 98% of them. LOL! But I'll try to do better!

Have I mentioned I have another guest blog due for next week? Must get that done by Friday.

Maureen said...

You're right, Tangled has a great black moment!

I think about the bulk of the annimated movies I go see and Disney really does do it best...the other makers are too concentrated on the comedy and mayhem.

P. Kirby said...

I actually saw Brave, in the theater, this weekend, like a person with actual disposable income! Very cute, it breaks the Disney princess mold (which, for the most part, I hate) in many ways. Notably, it's a mother/daughter film. As a rule, mothers in Disney don't fair well.

Actually, most of the Pixar movies--Toy Story, The Incredibles, A Bug's Life, Up--have terrific black moments. (I'm ignoring Cars because I hated it.)

MsHellion said...

Terri, so now I don't have to write for 2 weeks, right? *LOL* Oh, wait you're in RWA one of those weeks soon, aren't you?

MsHellion said...

Mo, I think that's it. They're so focused on one thing...and I want it all! *LOL* I want the nuts, the dark syrupy topping, the whipped topping AND cherry! I don't ask for too much--just everything.

MsHellion said...

P--isn't it nice to pretend you have disposable income? I did enjoy the mother/daughter film aspect; and I was very glad no mothers were harmed or horrifically maligned in the making of this story. *LOL*

I hated CARS too. Ugh. But UP, oh, my! And FINDING NEMO--I made the mistake of watching that one Saturday when I had major PMS, stress, and exhaustion--I thought it would be fluffy--I started bawling after 10 minutes. I seriously thought hard about going to another PIXAR film after that. It was all, "Does a fish die? No? Okay, we can go."

Maureen said...

Madagascar has lots of nuts. And that high wire scene was oddly mesmerizing...

TerriOsburn said...

I don't fly out until the 24th so I can do the next 2 Mondays.

Julie said...

Hi, I never thought about it, but i think I like more of the build-up then the actual "moment". I guess I'm more into the "process" of getting to the "moment" then the actual moment? But all that being said, I have had many a tear when watching emotional movies!

MsHellion said...

Julie--the process of getting to the moment is a beautiful thing too. :) I did really enjoy the scenes where the mother and daughter were bonding out in the woods and getting to know each other for real--really understanding each other. That process in a romance story is really wonderful to read. I agree--the build up is great too!

Donna Cummings said...

Hellie, what a great description of the black moment, and what it means for the character. I especially loved this: "How can I show them that their "utmost desires" is in actual conflict with what they actually need?" You've got me pondering now!

MsHellion said...

Thanks, Donna! It does make me question things about my character--as I said, I think watching movies, especially movies that evoke such emotional arcs like Disney, makes us think about our characters more deeply and about storytelling. I think it's a great opportunity to learn from a master about how to deepen your own story. I hope the pondering generates great results for you!