I’ve been trying to think of something to write on the blog this week and was at a loss. I started and deleted several times. Then it hit me. Inspiration was eluding me. It’s been a week full of Mondays and the iota of inspiration I had was being used to do the edits on my work in progress.
Most of the time I have music going in the background as I write. I’ve never been the type to need total silence to work. I had been listening to RadioCelt on AccuRadio at work and wanted something different. Enter Pandora Radio. A week or so again I found the Walt Disney station. Songs from Mulan, Mary Poppins, Beauty and the Beast, Tarzan and Sleeping Beauty. I tell you, I felt a little silly standing next to the barbecue pit belting out I Just Can’t Wait to be King from The Lion King. Especially when the next song is Under the Sea. Let’s just say my husband stayed in the house once he found out what I was doing in full view of the neighbors.
Thursday night I sat at the computer and decided to see what Disney could do for my writing inspiration. After consciously forcing myself not to sing out loud, I started working. I got more pages edited last night than I had all week. Every now and then, the music would consume me and I would have to sing, but the inspiration was working. I’ve had quite a few people look at me funny when I know as much (or more) about Disney Princesses as their children do. But as an adult, have you ever sat and thought about a Disney movie?
Disney is the master of foreshadowing. Take the beginning of Beauty and the Beast. Beast and his current situation are introduced to the viewer. Then we are immediately taken to Belle and her dilemma; being wooed by Gaston, the most eligible bachelor in town. Gaston wants a glorified maid who will fall over themselves to please him and Belle wants to be appreciated for who she is. An intelligent woman capable of more than just living to fulfill Gaston’s every whim. The first song, Belle sings how she wants more than what this town offers. My favorite line that inspired a short story is “I want adventure in the great wide somewhere, I want it more than I can tell. And for once it might be grand, to have someone understand I want so much more than they’ve got planned.” Disney let’s the viewer know in the first ten minutes of the movie who the main characters are and hints at the tension to come.
And I realized those are the elements of a great story. It’s why Disney movies hand drawn in the 1950’s still appeal to children and adults alike in 2011. I’ve found myself studying these movies even closer. Studying the story structure and the challenges faced by the characters. It’s a perfect study for me because I love the movies and now that I’ve seriously started studying the craft of writing, I’m able to see why I’ve loved these movies since I first saw Lady and the Tramp at the age of eight. Not only is it a way for me to connect with my inner child who does crazy dances in the living room while singing about mermaids, lions and a hunchback; it’s a way to learn more about making a story that lasts. A story that’s universally recognized and strikes a chord in the hearts of my readers.
Thanks Mr. Disney. Now I’m off to study. Oh I just can’t WAIT to be king…