Therese, Kathleen and their writer buddy Elena Greene had their article, Lessons from The Lord of the Rings published last November, and now they’re freeing it to share with the world (in part because Writer’s Digest doesn’t take reprints – bah).
But don’t start reading the article in the middle, my preciousesss, because we’re already up to tips 5 & 6. Here’s part 1, which contains a cheat list in case you need to know who’s who…and here’s part 2. Enjoy!
5. Find new twists for stale conflicts
To portray Frodo as the victim of his circumstance throughout three epic-length films would’ve become tedious to watch. The filmmakers mixed it up, though, emphasizing a different jagged edge in each movie. In the first, Frodo is a young and naïve hobbit whose conflict is clear: he doesn’t want to be the ring bearer, but there is no one more suited for the task. He also knows if the Ring isn’t destroyed, the Shire—which he loves more than anything—could be.
In the second film, Frodo’s original conflict still simmers on the backburner, but we see him increasingly agitated over the Ring and what it’s already done to one of its previous owners—Gollum. “I have to believe he can come back,” Frodo says as he fights to help the deranged Hobbit-beast, and we understand that he fears the Ring’s power to destroy not only his homeland, but the very fabric of his being.
In the final installment, the Ring’s toll on Frodo becomes marked. Their relationship slides into a drug to junkie dynamic. Frodo moves like an addict, is sleepless, jumpy and paranoid; he snaps at Sam for offering to “share the load” and carry the Ring for a while. (Even here the conflict is multi-faceted, because Frodo wants to protect Sam from the corrupting effects of the Ring, too.)
When you’re writing, think about how your conflicts can evolve, and how your characters can and must change to keep the variance fresh and alive. [Read more…]