Good Couples, Bad Movies
Note: this is my new writing blog. I find posts talking about “reasons why I have writing blog” to be super boring, so I’m just diving right in with something interesting. Thanks for understanding. I’ll write you a boring post about why I should have a blog, though, if you really want me to.)
Approximately six million years behind the rest of the world, I recently discovered the first volume of the graphic novel Saga. (Note for my readers with tender ears/eyes: this is a grownup comic and rated very-R. Be warned and don’t buy it for your 10-year-old nephew.) I started reading it, even though I don’t often do graphic novels, because I liked the gorgeous cover–that horned dad and be-winged mom, breastfeeding a baby while holding a raygun, appealed to my sense of storytelling. It turned out to be as great as I’d hoped. I’m a sucker for a well-written couple, not to mention ghost babysitters and rocketships that grow on trees.
I was also recently reminded of the movie Krull, and I got to thinking about why I like the movies so much but I also put it in the category of Bad Movies. I love it, but I love it in the same way that I still secretly love Hanson’s Middle of Nowhere album: because I liked it when I was 12, before I had been part of an actual couple.
In Krull we have to believe that the prince and princess love each other. We believe it because they tell us they do–they have to, because in the grand tradition of fantasy princesses everywhere, the one in Krull is kidnapped about two minutes into the movie, from her wedding, no less. The prince then takes his Deadly Fidget Spinner and goes looking for her, accompanied by a shapeshifter, a cyclops, and Young Liam Neesen the Bandit. We see all of the manly men interacting with each other as they go about the quest/fight giant spiders/nearly get possessed by big eel creatures/get squished by rocks. But pretty much all we see the princess do is say, “No! I won’t marry you, space villain!” It’s hard to show a relationship when you’ve only got one half of the couple’s point of view to work with.
In Saga, the couple is already together at the beginning of the story. You know they love each other because they almost immediately risk their lives to save each other and their newborn baby. There’s a little bit of exposition, but most of the subtext lies in the superb drawing of the main characters’ expressions, and in their actions.
Now, movies and graphic novels are not novels–they are both a lot more visual, for one thing, and can tell a story with no words at all–but I think both of them can inform how novels are put together.
What do you guys think? What makes a good couple in a story?