Monday, February 6, 2012

Writing Lessons from Teen Movies...

So after all the enthusiasm I got from my Center Stage reference, I have decided to start a new meme about writing lessons I've learned from teen movies. Which means I have to start with the movie that my sister and I saw so many times when we were little that we could quote large chunks of it:

Best quotes:

KEITH: I like art, I work in a gas station, my best friend's a tomboy. These things don't fly too well in the American high school.

***

WATTS: I've been thinking a lot lately about you and me. And I came to a conclusion that I didn't wanna deal with. But now that we talked, I can't hide it anymore. I think we'd get along much better, if we didn't spend so much time together anymore.
KEITH: Why?
WATTS: Because, I'm driving you crazy, and you're driving me crazy. And I'd rather not see you and have you think good things about me, than have you see me and hate me. 'Cause I can't afford to have you hate me, Keith. The only things I care about in this g*dd*mn life, are me, and my drums, and you.


***

Yes, John Hughes took S.E. Hinton's wrong side of the track OUTSIDERS trope and turned it into movie gold in the 80's. If you look at the common themes in most of his movies, they all tend to revolve around the issue of haves vs. the have nots.

But to me, what made Some Kind of Wonderful stand out is that Keith fell in love with his best friend. So many people complain about "instalove" in YA books that it makes me feel like all YA writers should be required to see SKoW just to remember how real teen relationships work. Writing paranormal books does not give you a get-out-of-relationship-building-free card. Your readers still have to buy it. Yes, there is legitimate insta-attraction between teens, but most teenagers I know in real life have ended up dating someone they were friends with first. THAT is the reality of teen dating.

Which brings me to my book recommendation for the day...the one that got it RIGHT when it comes to friendship and dating.

The great thing about Anna and Etienne is that they spend most of the book as friends. Yes, there is attraction, but the bottom line is that they are besties first and that makes them getting together in the end so believable and wonderful. So go rent SKoW and then read ANNA, and remember that effective YA relationships need a solid foundation, even if they are between bear-shifting angels and granddaughters of earth goddesses.

Now tell me your thoughts on friendship before dating vs. instalove in YA books???

16 comments:

Miranda Hardy said...

Great movie. I can see how the best friend developed her feelings and how its not often portrayed in current YA. We do forget that it does develop over time. It's not instant like most books portray. My daughter agrees.

Giles Hash said...

Instalove always comes across as fake and forced, to me. Maybe that's because I know that real relationships take work.

Stephsco said...

Never saw that movie, must remedy! Love John Hughes. I like the friendship first angle. You're right, Anna and St. Clair were great.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I prefer books where friends become something more special than just friends. They're more realistic than the YA paranormal books in which the mc falls in love with the paranormal guy in matters of days.

E. Arroyo said...

One of my favorite movies. Thanks for the suggested read. It's on my TBR list.

M.J. Fifield said...

I've never seen the movie but I do love John Hughes and the quotes you shared.

Emily R. King said...

I prefer friendship first vs. instalove in real life, because that's what worked for me. : ) But in books, I'll take either.

Brinda said...

I loved that movie and all things John Hughes. Anna and the French Kiss is on my TBR list. Even if there is "instalove" in a YA, there has to be some friendship along the way. Otherwise, it's really just "instalust". ;)

Kristin Rae said...

LURVE Stephanie Perkins' books! Anna is what switched my gears to contemporary YA from all the other paranormal stuff. LOL. Instalove is always hard for me to buy, but I'd be lying if I said I haven't been sucked into a story that incorporated that before. :)

erica and christy said...

How have I never watched that movie???? (well, I guess it's possible I don't remember it, but weird) Although I do remember that the girl in the middle of the poster later had a series where she was a children's book illustrator and I LOVED her apartment. Grace? Was that her TV name??

Anyway, thanks for the movie rec!! (I've read Anna already). And instalove?? I was a sucker for it as a teenager. Not lasting love, mind you, but once I met a guy I wanted to date, I was in instalove. The good thing is, I married one of those guys and we're still together, 16 years later...
erica

Mandie Baxter said...

Okay...I'll admit, I've never seen this movie. It saddens me deeply. I'll have to fix that and soon! And OMG HOW CUTE was Anna?! Have you read Lola? Cause it's 10xs the cute!

Instalove (bahaha...great word there) vs friendship. I honestly think it's based on the story. 9 times out of 10 it needs to grow but every once in a while you get that story that just NEEDS to have Instalove. :) But I will say I love the whole best friends falling in love story. Sophie & Carter (by Chelsea Fine) is a great one for that. Next door neighbors and best friends and one day they finally admit their feelings. I'd say Twilight is the only Instalove I can think about at this time...

Jenna Blake Morris said...

I'll have to read some of Stephanie Perkins' stuff! I always hear good things about her books, but I haven't gotten around to reading one yet. I need to change that.

Great point. That was one of the things I hated about Twitlight -- among many others.

Sarah Pearson said...

I'd forgotten all about this film, thanks for the reminder - and yes, friends first works better for me :-)

Heather said...

Honestly, I love both. It all depends on the characters and how the author handles it.

Jolene Perry said...

HA!!

My first book the girl slowly falls for her brother's roommate. He's this great guy and when they first meet she puts him in this box of "other brother" and it takes her FOREVER to push him out of that box.
My FAVORITE stories are best friend ones. Anna is fab. I still think LOLA IS BETTER, lol.

Some kind of Wonderful is my FAV 80s movie cause he ends up with the tomboy friend.

The idea for Night Sky came from the end of Pretty in Pink cause the best friend gets shafted .I HAD to know what happened to that guy next.

I don't like insta-like in YA. Though, I used it to make the couple crash and burn in the one Vitollo's reading for me right now...

Wow. I'm SUPER wordy today :D

And THIS is another movie I need to do for a girls' twitter movie night...

Elodie said...

I love love love LOVE that movie! And as I told you on Twitter, that kiss with the music in the background when she "teaches" him how it´s done. LOVE IT! :D

When it comes to books, I don´t mind the insta-attraction or insta-chemistry as long as there´s a development. He makes her laugh (can´t resist a book with a guy like that). I also very much when it comes gradually...