Ever since I researched 1940s Hollywood for Stars in the Night, I've been a bigger fan than ever of classic movies. Growing up, my favorite movies were from the 30s and 40s...that hasn't changed. There's something I love about the simplicity of that time that shines through in movies that make me laugh and feel. So today I thought I'd share a few of my favorites and writing lessons from each.
[Tweet "Love #Christmas? Have you seen @cara_putman favorite Christmas #movies? #traditions"]White Christmas: I adore this relatively simple story set during the post WWII years. I love the theme of honoring those we admire...even at great cost to ourselves. The ending scene with the general makes me tear up every time. And hearing Bing Crosby croon White Christmas? And Danny Kaye is the perfect comedic foil. Sing with me "Sisters, Sisters...." Perfection! My family adores this movie.
- The writing tip? Slapstick comedy of Danny Kaye paired with a story of making assumptions about intent, this story makes you feel. And that's what readers want: an emotional experience. What can you do to add emotional layers to your story.
- Writing Tip: Add Fred Astaire to Bing Cosby and the movie is unstoppable. But it's the backdrop of music that adds life. What are you doing to add the senses to your scenes?
- Writing tip: How can you take characters that people have pigeon-holed and flip their presumptions? Can you put them in uncomfortable positions and watch the sparks fly?
- Writing tip: Your characters will have blindspots just like George Bailey does about what they add to the world around them. Have you highlighted those? Can those become plot points?
- Writing Tip: How can your characters get caught in a web of seemingly white lies? Can they extricate themselves from it? On the romance side, is there a third person to make a love triangle with all the plot opportunities that entails?
So these are a few of the classic Christmas movies that my family loves to watch. I'd love to know which ones are part of your traditions. Is there a favorite holiday go-to movie in your family?