Monday Discovery: Joe Bunting’s “How to Write a Story like Les Miserables”

Here’s a Monday Discovery for you!

On his blog, The Write Practice, Joe Bunting reveals what he learned from watching the movie version of Les Miserables. He describes being moved to tears.

He says:

I want to write a story like Les Misérables. Not a musical, but a story so powerful, so captivating, that it could move people in the same way.

Joe’s five observations about what makes Les Mis so powerful follow, offering spot-on advice about how we might write a story as moving and memorable as this one.

Have you seen the movie, Les Miserables? If so, what did you learn from it? What other favorite movie or book has provided an “ah ha!” moment for you?

About Gerry Wilson

Fiction writer, writing consultant, teacher, reader, wife, mother, grandmother
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2 Responses to Monday Discovery: Joe Bunting’s “How to Write a Story like Les Miserables”

  1. elissa field says:

    Thanks for sharing this, Gerry. It really is an intriguing analysis. I especially love the idea of transforming a character, then testing him — it has me wondering if this is what I have done with my MC… a thought I’ll be pondering.

    I’ve had a couple a-ha moments, lately, with books. After that Ann Hood workshop, she had me noticing the progression of reaction (physical reaction, emotional reaction, ultimate response) to actions in a story — which had me more aware of the layers of authentic response. Less significantly, in Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn allows characters to have layers of thought (she puts them in parentheses and italics) within other thoughts and actions, which was interesting.

    Great post!

    • Gerry Wilson says:

      The “progression of reaction” is a great test of character, Elissa. Thanks for passing that on. I need to apply that measure to my characters, too. I thought Joe’s post was a keeper–one I’ll refer to again. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

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