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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Whole Lotta Lovin' Going On

Posted by Kitty Griffin

I'm squeezing in a last post for February's theme of LOVE with a list a few things I love—movies that takes risks, like “Inception” and “Despicable Me” for instance. Both of these are fairly recent releases and they are as far apart as two movies can be. What made me love them?

They took chances!

“Inception” delved into the human mind until you didn’t know where the dream ended and reality began. The lines were blurred and the audience worked hard as they plunged through. As I understand it, people either loved or hated this movie, there wasn’t an in-between. It was love for me.

“Despicable” Me took a chance, too. It opened with a main character so mean he took candy from little kids. He was rotten to the core, to use an over-tired cliché. But it worked. It worked because you just had to find out what happened next.

I have books that I love, too. I love these because they are books that took chances. The authors dared to challenge the reader.

“I Am The Cheese” by Robert Cormier is a book that winds forward and back as Adam Farmer rides his bike taking you on a trip with him. Pedal on, pedal on, pedal on. It is so daring in its approach that when I finished reading I found myself thinking about Adam for days and weeks. It’s not an easy read. But it is one that challenges you.

“Tanglewreck” by Jeanette Winterson is another book that takes chances. The scope of the imagination in this one is similar to the movie, “Inception.” It moves between time and space so effortlessly that I felt like I had to pinch myself to make certain I hadn’t fallen into the story. This is a wonderful romp into a London where time-twisters roar through and rough up the world.

“Which Witch” an absolutely charming tale by Eva Ibbotson (so sad she passed away not long ago) that is like “Despicable Me.” With characters just this side of shady the reader wonders how things will turn out. It’s fast, it’s fun, and a wonderful leap of the imagination.

And finally, one of my favorite books, ever. “The Brothers Lionheart” by Astrid Lindgren is an astonishing work. Dying is the starting place for this amazing story. I love this book because it made me think. It made me wonder.  

With my writing, I love to take chances. It’s hard when I work with my students at Chatham (MFA, writing for children and young adults) because I tell them there are rules. But, we’re writers. We want to bust out and burst onto the scene by breaking the rules. Nope, you have to learn them, really learn them, before you can even bend them. If you’re going to write fantasy or adventure, you need to understand the hero’s journey. If you’re going to write historical, you need to back up your work with solid research. If you’re going to write a picture book, you need to know how to set-up the story so the artist can make their contribution. There are rules. Rules to be learned and then, then it’s okay to stretch…and bend.

To all of you who want to write, you have to love it. Seriously love it. The writing world isn’t easy. There’s a reason the word starving hitches up to artist. So when you get ready to write, be sure you’re in love with your story, with your characters, and your plot.

Once you’ve got that love, JUMP!

1 comment:

  1. i love which witch! so sad to hear eva ibbotson passed away!