Taking Inspiration from Disney Classics

October 29th, 2009 • Kate

bellelumiere(1)It’s another snow day here at kt lit, and though you’d think working from home would make that just about the same as any other work day, I’m also enjoying seeing Rexroth and wee Trixie about the house as well. Earlier this morning, I put on Disney’s Beauty and the Beast for Trixie, and found myself singing along to the songs as the movie played in the next room. I always identified with Belle — not the beauty part, but the love of books.

Today, I was particularly struck by the lyric about the story she’s reading, “Here’s where she meets Prince Charming / But she won’t discover that it’s him / ’til Chapter Three!”

And I thought about some of the submissions I’ve read where the moment a character is introduced, you as reader know exactly the role he or she is going to have in the plot — romantic interest, rival, comedic foil, big bad, etc.

I think those books can sometimes feel too easy, too cliched. So, I entreat you to take your time introducing your characters, and let them reveal themselves over a bit of time. Think about real life — do you always know the moment you meet someone how they’ve going to fit into your life? Or do your relationships grow and mature over time?

For instance, Rexroth and I were online buddies for a year or so before we talked on the phone and started becoming friends, and it was several months more before we met in person, and then three months more after that before we started dating! I’m not saying that all your novel romances have to have that prolonged a timeline, but know that you can take your time setting up characters before rushing them into relationships.

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5 Responses to “Taking Inspiration from Disney Classics”

  1. Trish Says:

    I've noticed that I'm doing that with my current work-in-progress. I think it's the excitement of getting the two together that makes me rush it. So I'll get it all out in draft one, then slow it down on my next pass. πŸ™‚

    Also, I think Friday Night Lights is inspirational when novel writing. But it might just be the cute boys.

  2. Ash Says:

    I was looking over my current WIP and was thinking this only yesterday! a certain character comes off as a hard-ass, but he slowly turns into love interest and I thought "wow. this is the first novel where my beta-reader hasn't guessed the characters role so i must be doing something right." that's so funny you mentioned that!

    p.s.–the little mermaid will always have my heart, but beauty and the beast is close second πŸ™‚

  3. Sara Raasch Says:

    Beauty and the Beast will always be my favorite Disney movie for the same reason you said: love of books. And that way awesome/Gothic/creepy castle.

  4. Northwriter Says:

    Very sound advice. When I consider character I challenge myself to create characters that act in unexpected but logical ways given their backstory.

  5. Jamie Says:

    Okay, firstly– (That's my second time to use the awesomeness that is the made up word firstly today) Belle is my all time favorite Disney character, because she's just such a badass.

    She loves a scary beasty, all because he has a bangin' library and baby blues that make all the girl beasts swoon.

    I also think those insta-connections are kind of overdone lately. I mean, sure if her blood sings to you, and you can't hear her thoughts… but you really really wanna kill her–then the only plausible explanation is that you were meant to fall in love forever and ever amen.

    I kind of feel, too though that sometimes we do have those love at first sight, or even best friends at first sight moments… and those are some of the best ones. πŸ™‚