Monday, April 14, 2014

Melody Plotting Along with Disney - The Song of Hope

Welcome to the second part of my series, Melody Plotting along with Disney, where I’m taking the general ‘songs’ in Disney movies and applying them to novel writing.

As I said before, Disney is brilliant at using songs to portray the emotions and forward motion of its stories. The first post discussed the Song of Longing. You can read about it here:

The three song-types I'm discussing are:

Song of Longing
Song of Hope
Song of the Antagonist/Villain

And I might end the series with a Happily-ever-after post, but for now, we’re going to talk about the second ‘song’ we can learn from as authors. 

The Song of Hope.

In almost every Disney movie (especially the ‘princess’ ones) there is a Song of Hope. This song is the moment when the ‘longing’ (from the first post) seems like a real possibility for the protagonist or it shows a ‘change’ in the protagonists previously ‘hopeless’ circumstances. Lots of times, it involves a love song of some sort. It’s the ALMOST-but-not-yet. 
A few examples?

A Whole New World from Aladdin – Aladdin’s song of longing to be seen as more than a street rat is realized in the carpet ride with Jasmine. (the fun doesn't last long as Jafar has him kidnapped right after he lands Jasmine on the balcony)

At Last I See the Light from Tangled  displays Rapunzel’s deepest dream of her heart, she finds hope in being with Flynn. (Yet again, it doesn't last long before Mother Gothel and the gruesome dudes mess things up.)

Belle and the Beast have a clear ‘change’ in their relationship when they sing Something There that Wasn't There Before, followed pretty quickly by the title song, Beauty and the Beast. The adventure and romance Belle had been searching for became a possibility. (But when she leaves to rescue her father, the tables turn and the beast’s life is in danger)

Kiss the Girl clearly displays the hope Ariel has to be ‘kissed’ by Eric and gain her voice back, as well as her future. Her dream is literally a pucker away, but due to the magnificently maniacal Ursula, a hurricane of trouble is soon to follow.

Frozen succeeds in flipping this idea on its head by giving Ana false-hope through the song, Love is an Open Door, while Elsa’s song of hope is the extremely popular, Let it Go. Ana believes her longing from For the First Time in Forever has been revealed in Hans (boy, is she wrong) and Elsa’s biggest fears represented in the same song are replaced by her new-found freedom from her ‘concealment’ of her magic.

If we want to switch gears and look at popular movies?

The Song of Hope in a movie like Titanic is the night Rose and Jack spend together dancing, painting…and other things. There is hope that Rose will no longer be confined by the expectations
placed upon her – it’s a taste of her dream-come-true. But only a taste. We’ll discover near the end of the movie, she has to make that final choice to bring her dream to reality.

The Song of Hope in The Princess’ Bride is when Wesley and Buttercup are reunited before going into the Fire Swamp. Sure they’re almost killed by lightning sand and R.O.U.Ses, but they’re together. (but the sweet happily-ever-after moment ends as soon as they get through the swamp and come face-to-face with Humperdink)

In my historical romance, it happens after a horse-riding incident that ends in a kiss. In one of my contemporary romances, it happens in a tower that ends in a kiss.

Do you know what the Song of Hope is for your story? Is there a part of your novel where the protagonist realizes his/her dream is possible, almost palpable? The Almost-but-not-yet part of your book?

Would you like to share?


Karen @ a house full of sunshine said...

Absolutely love this Pepper - the "almost-but-not-yet"! YES, you're absolutely right - and how have I never noticed this plot pillar before?? I even have it in my own books. Completely by accident. I guess it's true that we absorb more from reading/ watching than by studying! It somehow feels instinctively right to hit that beat of hope, even though I wasn't overtly conscious of doing it before. Great post!

Pepper said...

Thanks, Karen. It's been really fun to create this series. I'd thought about adding how often the music underneath the dialogue 'hints' to which 'song' the characters are experiencing at the time. Maybe that's another post ;-) Keeping the undercurrent of your characters goals subtle but present in your story writing :-)

Jeanne Takenaka said...

Love this, Pepper. I never saw this before either. :) And I see a pattern of, right after the hope-but-not-yet, there is something bad that happens.....Hmmm.

I'll have to go through book number 2 to see if I have it. It's women's fiction, but it may still be there.

But for my next book....well, I can work something in, if it isn't already in my notes. :)

Loved this!

Mary Vee Writer said...

Everything should have been fine after this particular scene in my book….and then Ed arrived. The bad guy should not get to dress in Armani.

Then, again, Hans from Frozen dressed like a prince.

A new age? Bad guys dressed in finery?

Krista Phillips said...

You're so good at seeing patterns!

I think this is that calm before the storm moment.... or in books, the calm before the black moment. It's like we fake readers for just that second, but they KNOW something has to be coming because book can't end THAT easily.

Sandwich definitely had that... then he found out the woman he was trying to woo was stealing from him. (I say found out very loosely given the details, ha!)