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Monday, November 30, 2009

Frankly, My Dear...

Keep your fingers crossed for me. The wind is blowing and freezing rain is in the weather advisory for tonight. We had this same weather pattern last January and got three "ice days" out of the deal. Not quite as cool as a snow day because you can't go out and build snowmen, but there was still plenty of hot chocolate to be had.

Hurray for no school!

So let's talk about character details while I do a dance to the snow, er... ice gods. This weekend I watched Gone With the Wind. This movie necessitates a long weekend as it's four hours long, but what a great four hours! I think this is something like the sixth time I've seen it- I've lost count. Why do I keep coming back? The plot is great and it's set during the American Civil War so it's easily one of my favorite movies.

But why is it my all-time favorite?

Scarlet and Rhett. I adore them. I just want to throttle Scarlet through the whole movie, but I love her at the same time. And Rhett?

Swoon.

Not only do I adore Clark Gable's throaty laugh, but the character is just such a deviant he's irresistible. And I have a new favorite character detail that just epitomizes Rhett. (SPOILER ALERT!) In the scene where Scarlet's second husband dies (Frank Kennedy), Rhett shows up to propose while she's in between husbands. Kennedy's casket has just been moved out of the parlor, the casket props are still in the room, and there's a few flowers on the floor. Rhett stops and picks up some of the funeral flowers, sniffs one, and then pins it to his lapel. And then he laughs!

Such a cad. But such a perfect one!

This was a great reminder as I revise to make sure each of my characters come to life. It doesn't matter if they're primary or secondary- each character needs something to make them stand out, make an impression on the reader. It could be a nervous habit or even a distinctive physical trait or like Rhett, something they do that's out of the ordinary.

What do you think of Rhett and Scarlet? Do your characters have traits that make them pop for the reader?

17 comments:

Stephanie L. McGee said...

My mom has tried for years to get me to see this movie. But I just can't bring myself to succumb. I don't know why. It's not the length. I have sat through the extended cuts of all three LOTR movies a time or two (or ten).

Stephanie Thornton said...

Stephanie- You should! If you're even the slightest bit of a romantic you'll love it. The movie's not politically correct, but it's got drama. I just love it!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I loved it and I hated it. I'm not sure which emotion wins. :)

I'm passing along an award to my most regular visitor. Stop by my blog today to see what you've won! :)

Matthew Delman said...

I've yet to see Gone With The Wind all the way through, but the various bits and pieces I have viewed make me love Scarlett and Rhett as two of the most fleshed-out characters in fiction.

I like to think my characters' idiosyncrasies make them pop for the reader -- especially the ones that are purposely mysterious. Whether it works or not is up for debate.

Jill Edmondson said...

I love Rhett and the lovely but petulant Ms. O'Hara! There is something in these two that stands the test of time.

However, as much as I loved the book, the stage version (saw it in London in 2008) was awful! 3.5 hours of sitting in a theatre (much less comfy than 4 hours on your couch!) was almost untenable.

I don't think the play worked just because it's too big a story to do well on stage. The acting was fine and the lead roles (I forget the names of cast members) were well chosen. Scarlet was a spoiled, determined minx; Rhett was dashing dashing dashing!

I think their flaws make them stand out and make the audience embrace them. For good or bad, we love them...

Cheers, Jill
NEW website is up & running! Check it out at www.jilledmondson.com

MeganRebekah said...

Oh I love this movie! I don't watch it as often as I should because of the length, but I love it still.

Natalie said...

I love Rhett and Scarlett. They are brilliant characters. Flaws make characters interesting. I'm realizing this more on my WIP than I did on my last manuscript.

Julie said...

Ice days are like a winning lottery ticket for writers (not a jack pot but a few hundred maybe)

Who needs snowmen when we've got a story to tell and several hours free.

Valerie Geary said...

Never seen or read Gone With the Wind ... boo on me!!!

L. T. Host said...

I have this movie, I've just yet to actually watch the thing. Someday...

Stephanie L. McGee said...

L.T. and Valerie, you sound like me!

Stephanie Thornton said...

Sigh.

No ice day. Apparently my dancing didn't do the trick.

Susan R. Mills said...

I love Gone with the Wind. Also, one of my favorites. They are the perfect example of rich characters. I should keep this in mind as I'm revising too.

Bethany Mattingly said...

I remember that part when he takes the flower. I wasn't sure if I was supposed to be horrified by the action or laugh out loud. Regardless, it made me laugh. One of my fav. parts for sure. I can't wait for a snow/ice day this year :) Come on snow!!!

Steph Damore said...

Sorry on not getting the ice day (that's one thing I love about teaching too).

This post is so on topic for me right this second as I'm sketching a new character and trying to make her come to life. I'm not sure which way I wanna go with my hippie grandma yet...

Lisa and Laura said...

Have you read the book? I remember devouring it when I was in high school. It was just so romantic and the characters jumped off the page. Love the movie too. Ooh, this makes me want to go watch it right now.

Amalia T. said...

I haven't ever seen it, but I feel like I should. Especially now that you've posted this. Rhett Butler seems exactly like the kind of character I can't help but love.

As for your question, I really hope that when people read my books, they think the answer is yes!