13 Going On 30 has tons of great nuggets for life (it's even a movie used in the Bible study, Chick Flicks, Dinner and A Movie...I highly recommend it for a fun girl's night), and writing...which of course is what I will focus on.
So with a little bit of magic dust from her homemade dream house (hey, it's Hollywood), Jenna wakes up exactly like she wanted,
Thirty, Flirty, and Thriving.
Through the course of her transforming morning, she realizes she got everything she wanted...A high school career as a “Six chick”, homecoming queen on the arm of Chris Crandy, and working as an assistant editor at Poise.
She takes his advice: “Well then, you got everything you ever wanted, you might as well enjoy it.”
But with all the success, she discovers what kind of person she has become...and she (Jennifer Garner) sums it up nicely when she criticizes a competing magazine's editor:
“You are mean and rude and sloppy and frizzy, I don't like you at all!”
(minus the sloppy and frizzy, she is actually quite a spiffy “stuck in the eighties” kind of dresser)The rest of the story is Jenna “re-filling” the shoes of her egotistical, ruthless, deceitful future-self. This movie provides great examples of character growth, the suspense-building plot, and a significant black moment.
The character overcomes challenges externally and internally giving the audience a reason to route for her. Jenna takes on her fast-pace adult life through the eyes of a thirteen year old. She falls for the sweet guy, her best friend Matt, not the most popular hockey player that she's supposedly dating. When she pitches her “redesign” for the magazine, it is a refreshing, soul-searching idea that her boss loves. She chisels away the shallow idea of what she wanted in her thirteen year old body, and makes choices that give her audience a reason to hope the best for her in the end.
The guy she is in love with is engaged...will he break it off since he obviously has feelings for her?
The boss loves her idea...will it help change her ruthless reputation and bring success to her magazine?
Her best friend finds some incriminating evidence...will she ruin everything for Jenna?
The Black Moment:
All these questions are answered exactly how we, the sympathetic audience, DO NOT want them to be answered. Everything in Jenna's life crumbles, and she finds herself completely hopeless and alone. We want her to have happiness now, we've seen her work for it, and re-shape her character for it.
From a humorous, light-hearted, slightly unrealistic (okay, greatly unrealistic) comedy, we have a fun visual for the important anatomy of a well-written novel.
Is there some character tweaking, or plot building that you can do to enhance the climax in your book?