Here’s an Oldie But Goodie about Middle Grade Novels:
Everything I Need to Know about Middle Grade Novels I Learned from Jurassic Park
Okay, okay…I may be a bit behind on the fact that I’ve never watched all three movies of Jurassic Park until this past month. But then, we’re a family who loves books, not movies. In fact, as some of you may know, we haven’t watched TV in the 25 years since my husband and I have been married. Oh sure, about 10 years ago we “inherited” a television that we keep out in our garage under a blanket. It’s handy for watching home videos. We have TV Guardian on the DVD player so that when we do watch an occasional movie, we don’t have to listen to all the swearing. (TV Guardian does a great job of blipping out all that stuff!)
So anyhow, we decided to watch all three movies of Jurassic Park this past month. Of course, I’m a wimp at watching icky stuff, so I closed my eyes for about half of each movie. But wow! Did it give me lots of material to work on with my historical middle grade novel that I’m writing!
Is my historical MG novel set back in dinosaur days? Not! It only goes as far back as the American Revolution. But watching Jurassic Park taught me AMAZING lessons about developing my characters. Here’s how.
Jurassic Park was the ultimate example of how strong characterization works. Each and every single character had unique qualities, distinctive voices, and over-the-top quirks. And each character either CHANGED or DIDN’T CHANGE by the end of the movie in a dramatic way. Also, they each used their unique characterizations to either SAVE THE DAY or BRING ABOUT TOTAL RUIN. In other words, their characterizations not only developed their personalities, but also worked to move the plot forward or throw obstacles in the way.
The main characters each seemed to be 3-D with three main distinctive character qualities each. Even each minor character had at least one unique quirk. The interesting thing, however, was that Jurassic Park 2 (Lost World) and Jurassic Park 3 did NOT have the same strong characterization. And my husband and son and I all agreed—as a result both the second and third movies were flat compared to the first. In an upcoming post, I’ll explain what I noted in more detail.
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