Hello gentle reader,
As promised today I am mixing work and pleasure, in the sense that I’m going to talk about writing and handsome actors. See, I am a huge movie fan and I often go and see movies for the actor I happen to fancy. Sometimes the movie is great. Sometimes it is terrible and all I can do is stare at the awesomeness that is the main actor and forget about the movie itself. Whatever the case, I always learn something about writing. Thus let me share below a few nuggets of wisdom learned from various movies (in chronological order)… or you can just scroll down and stare at the pretty pictures.
Movie: Gladiator (2000)
Actor: Russell Crowe
What I learned about writing: Never underestimate the narrative power of the good old “Hero’s Journey”. If you put a new spin on it, there’s no reason why your hero shouldn’t get a call, meet a mentor, go through some trials, defeat the bad guy and finish his journey transformed.
Movie: Alexander (2004)
Actor: Jared Leto
What I learned about writing: Don’t be afraid to be a bit ambitious and to go for epicness. Some stories need it.
Movie: Tristan and Isolde (2006)
Actor: Henry Cavill
What I learned about writing: Do not make your villain/secondary character more interesting, more handsome, more complex than your hero. Because then, your reader will fancy him more than the hero. And that can be a problem.
Movie: Mr Brooks (2007)
Actor: Kevin Costner
What I learned about writing: it is perfectly acceptable to have a villain as your main character, as long as you show him in all his complexity.
Movie: Valhalla Rising (2009)
Actor: Mads Mikkelsen
What I learned about writing: having a disabled main character can make your story intriguing and more original. In this example, the hero is one-eyed and mute. Yet he is fascinating.
Movie: Centurion (2010)
Actor: Michael Fassbender
What I learned about writing:
Michael Fassbender is awesome. Wait, that’s not a writing lesson. Here is the lesson: even if you have a large cast, make sure all the characters have their own “arc” and storyline. The more the reader feels he knows them, the more he is likely to care.
Movie: Anonymous (2011)
Actor: Jamie Campbell Bower
What I learned about writing: Done artfully, it can be very moving and narratively powerful to portray a character from his youth to his death and to span 80 years of history.
Movie: The Eagle (2011)
Actor: Channing Tatum and Jamie Bell
What I learned about writing: Nothing will make your reader care more about your main character than showing him with a best friend.
Have you learned any writing lessons from watching movies? If, yes, which ones? Feel free to leave me a comment below!