My Choice Tuesday: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

All right, here goes nothing. I’m working on establishing a set routine for posts, taking the weekends off, of course.

Tuesday I have instituted as “My Choice Tuesday” (alliterations are awesome, but not really my thing, so sorry in advance for my crappy titles).

On Tuesday I will review…something. Most likely a book or film or TV show, but who knows. I may throw in a writerly wine or something stupid. And I won’t just give you my opinion on it, because who really wants to read my opinion? I’ll tell you why watching or reading my choice will make you a better writer. So enjoy! Because my first choice of review is: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.

Now, if you haven’t seen this movie, I suggest you go buy it now. Don’t even rent it. Just buy it.

Why is it so splendid? Well, aside from, what I think, is great acting (I have no acting experience so my opinion here is really just that), the overall storyline is solid.

Think of it this way (spoiler alert): it’s got a great hook, builds to the climax well, the main character has to put his life on the line, and then a solid conclusion. Things don’t work out in the end the way you expect them to, and that is a rare case these days. Not to mention that every single shot, every single shot, is flawless. Try and find one that isn’t. I don’t know how many times I’ve watched this movie, and I can’t find a single one.

So, how can this movie make you a better writer? It’s simple: deconstruct it.

When you find a book or movie as solid as this one, it’s a great idea to take it apart and make your own plot outline.

And I’m not talking about this grade school kind:
Plot_Skeleton_photo_FINALIZED

I mean this bad boy:
Story-Structure-spreadsheet-preview

This comes from a book that I absolutely love and wholeheartedly recommend called Story Engineering by Larry Brooks. He has an equally wonderful book called Story Physics, which I also recommend. This lovely little graphic came from http://jamigold.com/for-writers/worksheets-for-writers/#Story%20Engineering who broke down several different methods if you’d like to check them out.

Okay, back to deconstructing.

Using that scary second graphic, take apart The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. I promise it’s not as daunting as it looks, and yes, the graphic is specifically for books, but in Story Engineering he explains the outline for movies. Unfortunately for you, I lent these books to a friend so I can’t tell you the exact times. However, breaking down the different elements is a great starting point.

Now, once you’ve done this with an excellent example, try it with your favorite book, or even *gasp* your own WIP. I dare you. It will take your work from one level to the next.

Have you seen The Secret Life of Walter Mitty? If so, what did you think?

[Follow me on Twitter at @tclem91 for more rants and ravings and occasional nuggets of wisdom.]

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