5 Writing Lessons From This Year's Oscar Nominated Films (& read the scripts!)

Tuesday 21 January 2020

In today's post I have round up 5 of the best writing lessons we can learn from this year's Oscar nominated films, including scripts to read from; The Irishman, 1917, Marriage Story, Little Women and Parasite. 

So, if you fancy some reading to kickstart your day then feel free to check those out - and don't forget to consider the following writing lessons each script has inspired!

1) Writing Your Character's 'DARKEST HOUR' 

You know the drill - this is the moment, where it can't get any worse! 

Your story arc has led your character down a dark and desperate hole that is their 'Darkest Hour'

The unexpected has happened - the bad guys are winning and your hero is on the out. 1917 is the perfect example of creating and sustaining palpable tension within your audience as they watch the protagonist go through the unimaginable. 

Read the screenplay here!

2) The Averted Trope

Not all stories have a happy ending - and that's what makes them so real and intriguing to viewers, as is the case with Marriage Story.

The story is a devastating tale of divorce with both the main characters portraying the averted trope. Not familiar with the term? I've got you covered!

Essentially it means, the writer completely avoids/ignores a trope. This typical marriage/divorce scenario is accepted from the get-go and no typical cliche or expected character behaviours are necessary. The ugly truth of reality found within this drama between the interactions of Charlie and Nicole during the divorce process is where the focus of the narrative lies. 

Read the screenplay here!

3) The Mood-Whiplash Effect

You're more familiar with the mood-whiplash effect then you probably realise! 

It's when a film covers a variety of emotions/genres in quick succession - one minute you're laughing, then you're devastated, and finally horrified all by the same film. 

Parasite has been praised for successfully being able to achieve this (amongst many other things), and is even described as a tragicomedy! 

Read the screenplay here!

4) The Politics Of Your Character's World

In Little Women we are familiar with the trope of No Woman's Land - whereby the world our four main characters inhabit, is one where women are set a different set of rules and expectations than their male counterparts. 

Whatever world you have created for your characters, be sure to do your research. 

If it's a fictional world then the rules are your own, however if you're writing about a real-life figure or event- then the political rules that governed that time should be acknowledged by your characters and their actions in some form or another. Otherwise, consider the necessity of setting their story in that time/period. 

Read the screenplay here!

5) Your Character's Fatal Flaw

Classically, a fatal flaw is designed to be a trait  that the hero will consistently struggle with  throughout the course of their story. This in turn becomes a source of tension and conflict between the hero/other characters and of course the audience watching. 

The fatal flaw must serves a purpose, a key ingredient to the narrative. For example, In The Irishman - one particular character (no spoilers!) has certain personality traits - pride & ego- which quite literally gets him killed. 

Read the screenplay here!

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