So maybe layering has something to do with longevity in creations. Take the movie "Pretty Woman" for example, each layer of stories, characters and interactions in the movie beg you to discover, peel back and find new richness as you view it through the test of times.
I didn't see all the layers at first. It was more of an language issue for me at the time. But once I was able to peel back the outer layer story, the one about a fairy tale prince rescuing a princess (or, as the case might be, working girl), I saw the movies charm also belies in Edward's interactions with Jim Morse, an almost father figure to him, as compared to how Edward's memory of his real father had shaped him. These angles overlap with the fairy tale, but adds a new dimension to the story.
|photo courtesy of www.starpulse.com|
|Photo courtesy of www.starpulse.com|
"No wonder! ... no wonder you came down to the Blvd looking for me." exclaimed Vivian.
Can you believe her? The audacity? But at that moment, I did.
Why all this talk about onions and layers? I am just getting to it. In a way this is something new writers perhaps struggle with. My stories started with exactly one character, me, or more precisely, my thoughts. Later on, some of them had two characters, and a few lines about the surrounding temperature and some trees nearby. It feels pale because it is. When I read writers who had done it for a while, I not only see the main story, I also see the setting, the people around them, and a very realistic world in which the story unfolds. Want to see an example? Check here. It is tough to establish a cast of characters with so few words, but if you browse back in a few stories, you'd find she typically manages OK.
We could also look at another movie. The King's Speech, besides a winner of all sorts of awards, is another example on layering. It differs slightly from the previous examples, in that the layers are built between the two people central to the story - the teacher and his pupil, the speech therapies and the king and in many ways, two great friends in the best sense.
What is similar though is the layers again, dug back deep into childhood hurts. Lionel Logue, an Australian born speech therapist, manages to cut through many layers of royal rules by calling his patient, then Duke of York, by his family nick name: Bertie. His insistence on building a personal relationship separate from the treatment itself, work to add not only layers of witty and funny dialogues, but also help uncovered the source of the stammer, and the very personal story of a king.
But what about the family of characters? In this movie they are as much a literal family as a movie one. Well, I guess I do not have all the answers. They are there, the movies stands at least in part, on their interactions with the king. But I can't see them as standing on their own layers. They serve as important context for the movie, but they are faint, almost like backdrops. Maybe that's the nature of the royal family, they each have so much stories on their own, it could be tough to add too much to them without distracting the main theme, where there are so much to tell already. I mean, how can you have king Edward or Winston Churchill in there and not have a whole movie just about him? It's a tough balance, and I think the King's Speech did a fine job in tweaking the lever.
Or maybe I just need to see it a few more times. Only time could tell, and perhaps the onion boy.
What about you? Do you see layers in these and other movies? Any thoughts about incorporating more layers into your stories?