Thanks so much for visiting HipWriterMama, my blog about children's books, authors and readergirlz!

It's time for a change. I've decided to focus my attention on my writing blog, www.vivianleemahoney.com. Hope to see you there!


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Writing Tip: The Song I Can't Get Out of My Mind

My kids and their friends have been watching High School Musical 3 since the DVD release. It's probably my fault since I refused to take them to see this movie and payback...well, let's say I've paid my due.  Not only have I watched/listened to this movie, but my children (and their friends) have amused me with re-enactments of various scenes.  Our household is one big musical and yes, it is fun.

However, I hated the commercialism surrounding the movie. With that said, I have to admit, the marketing move was perhaps brilliant with fantastic name branding, consistent main characters, fun choreographed song and dance, and a dedicated following that spread the word faster than a telephone game, but with pinpoint accuracy. 

Which made me realize that this applies to our writing.  Not that our characters' lives should be a musical, though, it would be satisfying to be able to burst out in song and dance in a moment's notice.  I'm thinking more of how we can add the layers of emotion and other little touches that help the reader identify with the characters and actively participate in the story.

I'll be writing about EMOTION in the next few posts and I hope you'll join me as I explore how to add the song and dance to our writing.

The only problem is I have to figure out how to get this one song from the movie out of my mind.  If you dare, watch it on the video below. The first song is oh, so entertaining--there are two versions in the first 5 minutes of this video. (Note: If you're not interested in spoilers, this shows a pivotal scene in the movie)

In case you're looking for a Writing Exercise: Watch the exaggerated motions and dramatics and see if you can capture it in your writing.


beckylevine said...

I am NOT going to watch that video. Thanks, perhaps, to having one almost 13-year-old son, I have managed to keep my life free of HSM, and I think I'll stay that way!

This post makes me think so much, though, of what Donald Maass says in his book & workbook--that pushing to extremes, adding the depth and height and whatever other geometry term you want to apply. I'm finding it tricky--wondering if/when I'm crossing from drama into melodrama or, maybe, from full reality into...musical? I'll be reading your emotion posts with interest!

Solvang Sherrie said...

My children's piano teacher was just talking about adding that layer of emotion in music. One point she made is that if you're still just trying to remember the notes, it's harder to add the emotion.

I think that applies to my writing also. While there might be some emotion in my first draft, I need to come back and add it in on the next go round once I really know the characters and where their journey finally ends up.

Writing, music, dancing -- it's all art meant to capture our emotions. And so incredibly brilliant when it works!

beth said...

Great post!

I have found it interesting how HSM has made a brand for itself, marketing the movie on all aspects. It's phenomenal. It reminds of Harry Potter, although the branding didn't really happen until the movies came out.

Vivian said...

It makes me feel like I'm on the right track if Donald Maass prescribes to it!

You're right. When art captures our emotions, it is brilliant. And it is a lot of work to get it to happen.

HSM has made quite the name for itself. I didn't even think of how Harry Potter became more of a brand after the movies came out. Great observation!

Saints and Spinners said...

I'm not watching the video either! I have a sticky brain. I've only seen the first movie, and as in other high school movies, I was struck by a few things:

1. Wow, those halls are clean.
2. With all of that singing, dancing and time between classes, how does anyone ever have time to study?
3. Isn't it amazing that characters who have never sung before suddenly can belt it out?
4. I wish my life were a musical, and that we all would just start dancing at key moments.

m. thompson said...

I only watched a few minutes of the video, but it cracked me up! I can see why it's fun. I look forward to your posts--I have a really hard time adding emotion to my work.

PJ Hoover said...

I'm not watching it! But I'll follow along with you on your (always awesome) posts!

Lorie Ann Grover said...

Singing along with you, HipWriterMama!

sheila said...

Ooh, I'm waiting for the Slumdog "Jai Ho" YouTubes to start, then I WILL be hanging around the house, singing to my heart's content.

HSM hasn't hit our house either, but that's because the only kid in the right age group here is still pretending that he's not growing up. He wants nothing to do with girls and hormones. Nothing at all.

Emotion is a funny thing, isn't it. I remember when I first saw Fame (in Peru of all places). I felt as though I'd been hit by a bolt from heaven. It was SO incredibly inspiring. The other time I felt like that was when I first saw Cabaret. So I have a lot of sympathy for those waves of girls loving HSM, even if it has been a marketing nightmare for many of us mothers.

Anonymous said...

LOL. I love HSM and this scene is sic! The Rocket Man is soooo cute!

Shelli said...

only way to do it is to get stuck on another one - oi!

Kelly said...

Our house has been consumed with HSM since the first one came out. I have to admit singing along to the songs...you just can't help it. A brand that keeps sneaking into our house with my daughter...

Liz in Ink said...

We are slightly more addicted to Mama Mia at our house, but the same principle applies. I love the way you're thinking about this!!

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