Brace yourself: A post about Twilight is coming.
More specifically, a post about the latest film in Stephanie Meyer's monstrously successful series is coming. See, over Thanksgiving weekend I did a gallant thing and took my wife to see Breaking Dawn – Part 1. Now, readers of this blog can probably guess that I'm not a huge fan of Twilight. I called the first novel "pleasant," and it was in a pulpy sort of way. But future installments added plot woes and highlighted absurdities -- coughsparklescough -- that the initial volume glossed over. Out of all those offending sequels, Breaking Dawn was the worst. So why did I go see it? Well, I love my wife. But that wasn't the only reason. I watched it in order to learn.
Surely you must be thinking, "Ah, I get it, you watched it to learn how not to write a story." Well, not really. I mean, it's good to avoid obvious potholes, such as making a muscled werewolf fall irrevocably in love with a near-matricidal infant moments after she emerges from the womb. But few stories do everything wrong, and I gleaned two things from the celluloid version of Breaking Dawn. Bella's wedding-night jitters showed how a dose of humor can lighten overly serious action. But the best part of the film was the infamous birthing scene, a scene so visceral that critics wondered how it could appear onscreen and the movie's PG-13 rating stay intact. How did director Bill Condon pull it off? Through fast cuts, oblique camera angles and grisly sound effects. The imagination can fill in a lot of holes.
I'm not saying you should intentionally expose yourself to bad stories in order to pick up writing tips. Yet should you find yourself stuck with an awful story, keep your compositional eyes peeling. You never know what lessons you might find.
(Picture: CC 2010 by toastforbrekkie)