Monday, December 26, 2011
My favorite holiday movie: Hugo and the Creation of a Fantastic Story World
Without giving away too much, Hugo is a little boy who lives in a giant clock in a railroad station just after World War I. His father dies and he is forced to live with his uncle (a very mean drunkard—shades of Charles Dickens.) When his uncle dies, he lives in fear of the evil train station security guard, who will whisk him off to an orphanage if he learns Hugo has lost all of his relatives. The boy finds a fabulous mechanical man, called an automaton, and tries to get him to work using his father’s special tools. (His father was an expert at fixing things). The automaton does give him a message which leads him to a fascinating old man who works at the train station selling toys, from whom he has originally stolen the mysterious metal figure. This man has a connection to the early days of moviemaking and to his father.
The story is set in a miraculous fantasy world and is shot in the best 3D I’ve ever seen. The pictures literally leap off the page. Can you make your settings and characters do that? Can you create a fantasy world that mesmerizes and amazes? Will your readers get lost in the story because of it?
Whether you’re writing a fantasy or not, you still need to create that kind of world. A special world that your characters inhabit, where evil lurks and love triumphs. One that’s above reality, one that’s special. It’s hard to do, but using our imagination can work wonders. And, of course, like Hugo’s world, there must be hope and there must be a happy ending.
What’s your favorite book or movie whose setting literally swept you away to another world—Star Wars, Harry Potter, the Twilight saga—or? Let me know!
Next week: What makes a successful blog and what’s the best day to blog?