Thursday, May 10, 2012

Why Breakfast Club Works And What Romance/Women's Fiction Authors Can Learn From It

I was talking with some people a couple of nights ago about some great movies that seem to alway stand the test of time. Of course, THE BREAKFAST CLUB popped up in the course of the conversation and it was agreed that this is one of those stories that really works. As we talked about it, we all came to the same consensus. The success of the story came down to the believablity of the characters and the way an audience member can relate to the characters.

Think of this last dialogue:

Brian Johnson: Dear Mr. Vernon, we accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it was we did wrong. What we did *was* wrong. But we think you're crazy to make an essay telling you who we think we are. You see us as you want to see us... In the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain...

Andrew Clark: ...and an athlete...

Allison Reynolds: ...and a basket case...

Claire Standish: ...a princess...

John Bender: ...and a criminal...

Brian Johnson: Does that answer your question?... Sincerely yours, the Breakfast Club.
We can't help it. There IS someone in that movie that we are. The success of the story comes from our ability to make a connection with the characters. Sure, there are great lines in the movie and yes, there are great scenes. But, the real success comes from the way we can connect.
Too often, I see projects that the author is so hung up on the technique. They are focused on making that "great scene" or that "great dialogue." They strive to get the "perfect opening line." But that doesn't make the story. When we read a great romance or women's ficiton, it comes down to the author manipulating words and scenes in such a way that we picture ourselves in those scenes. We fall in love with the hero or heroine. We hurt when one of them gets hurt.
As a writer, you have to continually think of your story as "reality". You have to see it as a reflection of real people in real situations.
That is the key.
And please, don't become a Neo-Maxi-Zoom-Dweebie! (according to Bender)


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