There were years that passed when I didn’t see any movies. Spring, summer and fall are just too busy to watch movies—unless something monumental, such as a Marvel movie—comes out in theatres. I’m just not a TV watcher, so I’ve missed many good—and some just for fun—movies over the past three decades.
Why do I force myself to watch movies now?
Movies remove me from reality. Although many enjoy this chaotic, messed up world that has become void of common sense, I often prefer to journey the path less travelled, less noisy, more personal.
Movies transport me to another time, another place and a more fantastic reality. It must be the fantasy gene in me that keeps me hoping that life can be more adventurous, more challenging and more magical than it is. I need the break from reality to recharge my batteries.
When I watch a good movie, it inspires me to imagine, to create and to write my own stories. I think about, ‘what if the character did this instead’ where would the story have gone? Sometimes a movie character will inspire a character and I will create a whole story around them.
Sometimes that inspiration is in the form of hope, and when I watch a movie that inspires hope, it fuels my own stories in which I, too, want to inspire hope. For without hope, all is lost.
Going on adventures with characters satisfies my soul. I want to soar to uncharted lands, but I am grounded here…for now. Unlike a vegetarian pizza or a large Courtland apple that satisfies my belly, my soul is nourished by adventure, fed by wild rides and remarkable characters who overcome the impossible.
Like many writers, I write with a feeling that certain things cannot be gained unless earned on the journey. If I’m writing a love story—even if it is not the main focus—the two characters must work to achieve the love they desire.
If two characters fall instantly in love and it is not challenged and their relationship is achieved too easily and without loss, is it worth it? Is it good writing and good story telling? Will it impress readers? Will it endure throughout time, throughout a series?
And do the characters deserve the love, the dedication received from their partners?
This is why I torture my characters, and it is why Bronwyn Darrow and Alaura of Niamh do not become a couple by the end of the first Castle Keepers series book, Shadows in the Stone. It often appears as if they won’t come together in the second book, Scattered Stones, either. It is why Isla and Liam were torn apart in the first book and do not connect in the second book. Perhaps they won’t even connect in the third book, Revelation Stones (the end is not yet written). It doesn’t mean they don’t think of each other; it means only they have not found each other.
But know when they do, their love will be a hard-fought battle, worthy to be read and celebrated.
Knowing the history of two characters as they grow together and eventually find love was driven home this week when I watched Pirates of the Caribbean’s Dead Men Tell No Tales. It confirmed my theory on what I think makes a great love story.
This is a series I refused to watch when it began—I disliked Johnny Depp because of 21 Jump Street and Edward Scissorhands—but a friend convinced me I’d like it. So I tried it. And the adventurous spirit it invoked made me a fan. The movies also had that dry humour I love.
So when I watched Dead Men Tell No Tales, I already knew the story behind Elizabeth Swan and William Turner. I knew it was a deep love, one won, one lost, one earned, one forbidden by the curse of the sea. So while this movie didn’t impress me because of all the fancy footwork (CGI) during battles, the ending drove home the sentiment of the first three movies: the love between Elizabeth and Will.
The love between their son Henry and Barbossa’s daughter Carina was young, unchallenged and just coming into blossom. It could easily change the next day or the next week or fall in the first real challenge. Nothing predicted it would endure. They had taken only the first step in earning a great love.
But Henry’s parents were another matter. When I saw Elizabeth run towards Will, all the emotions created by their history emerged. Their love was an earned one, a pure one, one that had endured time and hardships.
And that’s the kind of feeling I want to generate in readers with the characters who fall in love in my stories.
How About You?
Did you want Dead Men Tell No Tales? If you’ve watched the other movies in the series, did you get the same knowing, familiar feeling at the end when Elizabeth and Will reunited?
Didn’t watch this series? Have you felt this enduring love in other series? I know single movies can have the power to generate this feeling, but building and maintaining this feeling over several movies is a challenge.
With Elizabeth and Will, none of their history was shared in the movie and not a word was said between them but at the end, viewers knew the instant they saw them together the challenges they had overcome to be together.