Hello dear Writers!!
I'm wishing you a very happy holiday this year.
It's Christmas week!! I love Christmas and it's not about being religious even if that is the reason for the season. I love the music, I love the lights, the decorations, the busy stores and last year in 2020 we missed all of that.
I love everything about it.
I do miss snow though--here in SoCal we don't get snow and this east coast girl misses it!
Today's blog is about storytelling in HOLIDAY FILMS.
I love holiday films even the ones on TV such as Hallmark and Lifetime.
The plots are usually predictable but they work and they bring me joy!
Recently someone I have been connected to on FB has been posting the titles of ones she's watched and then listing all the reasons she hates them. Le sigh---why do this?
But okay, it's fine, we all have our opinions. I hated the first WONDER WOMAN ---I could write a dissertation on why the storytelling is so bad but millions loved it. It's okay to not love everything but for me, the Hallmark channel & Lifetime holiday films are great examples of pretty solid storytelling.
You have the following things that are needed in good storytelling.
Strong opening that gives us the following--WHO and WHAT
Who the story is about-usually a woman, early thirties or late twenties, but up to 50 years old. She lives in the city and is a successful career-driven woman, and then it gives us WHAT she wants. Usually a promotion.
Inciting incident leading to the quarter mark-entering the new world. Something happens that requires her to go back to her hometown or a small town that lands her in a new world. A couple I have seen keep her in the big city but she faces something that changes her world, her bookstore is being forced to close, her shop is struggling, she lost a writer for her Christmas choir, etc.. and all of these have one thing in common.
The MEET CUTE with the love interest!
Then the story goes to the middle where she REFLECTS giving us the mirror moment that James Scott Bell talks about for a successful story. Martha Alderson of the Plot Whisperer books calls this the recommitment scene. Both work really well. It's the moment when your main character either reflects on what is happening and changes or stays the same-recommitting to their convictions.
The third quarter is when something bad happens and because these are light romantic flicks, usually it's not something that is a massive problem but something that she doesn't want.
All is lost moment. AND then she usually believes it's not going to work out with the new love interest she has just met.
And then, the resolved scenes at the end which leads to the perfect kiss!
This is CLASSIC storytelling with almost perfect story beats.
You don't have to love them or even like them, but for me they are perfect.
Holiday movies I love are:
A Christmas Story--great dialogue and storytelling in every way.
A Christmas Carol--I love listening to the book on Audible, but we usually go see the play every year--this year being the first in more than 8 years where I didn't see it live.
The Christmas That Almost Wasn't which has the same storyline as the old Rankin-Bass Santa Claus is Coming to Town.
Love Actually weaves a few stories into one perfectly and a must-watch every year.
The Holiday weaves two stories into one.
The Man Who Invented Christmas is genuinely great about Charles Dickens.
I'd love to hear yours too!
Whatever you do this year, I hope you find some joy.
XO until next week, happy writing!!