Stories of Me Via Books & Movies

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Recently, Debbie Kauffman shared a special list on the blog Petit Fours and Hot Tamales. Her inspiration came from Screenwriting Tricks for Authors by Alexandra Sokoloff in which writers are encouraged to create a “list of ten stories that are similar to the book you are writing, or the ten books and films that ‘you wished you had written,’ and then look at what the list says about you and your stories.”

I found the idea intriguing and began a list of my own. I’m sure as I grow and learn it will change. Kauffman and Sokoloff say, “the list should be fluid, not written in stone.”

Here’s what I came up with:

1. The Princess and the Warrior/Der Krieger und die Kaiserin
2. Life as a House
3. P.S. I Love You (novel by Cecelia Ahern and movie)
4. The Perks of Being a Wallflower (novel and movie) by Stephen Chbosky
5. Apollo 13 (based on the book Lost Moon: The Perilous Voyage of Apollo 13 by Jim Lovell)
6. Transformers
7. The Avengers
8. The Secret Holocaust Diaries: The Untold Story of Nonna Bannister by Nonna Bannister
9. Solomon and Gaenor
10. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

As you can tell, I’m influenced by different genres and this list leans heavily on movies. The theme is unmistakable though. Grief, struggle (sometimes against seemingly insurmountable odds) and triumph.

Occasionally, it’s cut and dry like The Avengers and Transformers battling maniacal foes. Other times it’s not so simple, like a dying man wanting to reconnect with his son before it’s too late or a teenager with emotional instability trying to find his place in the world. Overcoming grief, accepting the sometimes insane dictates of society and battling evil when we find ourselves in positions that violate our moral code. All these things resonate with me. Most of my stories include variations of these themes in some form.

As a bonus:
11. The Divergent series by Veronica Roth

At first I thought I would say I wish I had written these books. That’s not true. I’m enjoying Roth’s vision and greatly anticipate the conclusion to the trilogy.

See, my list is already fluid. What would your list look like?

  • What a cool idea! I did something similar, but with characters rather than whole books. My list centered around Anita Blake (from the series by Laurell K. Hamilton), the antagonist in 3:10 to Yuma, and the main character in the movie Pitch Black. I used their qualities to figure out what it was that made them unforgettable!

    • M. Frye

      That’s a great idea too! Riddick from Pitch Black is a particularly complex character.

      I used a Doctor Who episode, Blink, to figure out how to make a story work. It’s very difficult to write a story/novel with the fluidity of that one episode.