Tuesday, January 11, 2011

For Crying Out Loud!

Are you a crybaby? Do you cry at Hallmark commercials? Love songs? Rom-com movies?

I'm usually not a sap. I did cry easily as a child (and was teased by my sister "B-A, B-A, B-A-B-Y!"). I cry when I'm stressed. I cry when I'm proud of my children. But it takes a lot to make me cry in a book or movie.

As a writer (or director or songwriter), you want the reader to connect emotionally with the characters. You want them to empathize with them, you want them to feel what they are feeling.

Let's explore what moments do make a reader snivel: death, the emotional bond between parent and child, heartbreak over a lost love, an important accomplished goal, a disappointment. Do you have any more to add?
Now let's explore specific movies, books, or songs that made us reach for the Kleenex and/or curl up in the fetal position.

I'll go first.

It takes a lot to make me cry in a book. Here's a few that I can remember. I probably have cried a few more times than this, but this is all I can remember!

1. The very end of the first chapter of Hunger Games when a certain someone was selected.

2. When my favorite character died in Harry Potter in the Deathly Hallows.

3. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein has gotten me emotional too thinking about the sacrifices a parent makes for each child. Okay, I'm sentimental sometimes!

I think I cry more easily in movies or TV than books because I'm a visual person. But even so, the book is always better than the movie.
My family teases my sister because she's cried at every Twilight movie. Every time we watch a movie with her, my kids ask her, "Are you crying, Denise?!"
Now that I'm making a list, I can't think of too many movies, probably because I usually watch comedies!

1. Despicable Me - yes, I teared up a little at the end.

2. The Blind Side - what a feel good movie mixed with a few tears

3. Marley and Me - I watched it about five months after my dog had died. :(

4. Saving Private Ryan - Just wow. How could you not feel something?

5. Steel Magnolias - And this was before I had my own daughter with kidney problems.


1. I just cried last week at the episode of How I Met Your Mother. I watch that show because it makes me laugh, but I definitely cried last Monday due to the unexpected death of a character.

2. I cried at an episode of Young and the Restless when a teenager that was a main character died in a car crash. I sobbed! It's every parent's worst nightmare.

3. When I was pregnant with each child, I'd watch A Baby Story on TLC. I bawled and bawled at the end of each show when the baby was born. Every time!

4. This probably doesn't count, but The Soup and Tosh.0 occasionally make me laugh so hard that I'm crying. Seriously!

Hardly any songs make me cry, but these do.

1. "Tears from Heaven" by Eric Clapton. I even cried as a teenager hearing this song and realizing what it was about.

2. "Daniel" by Elton John. My husband's uncle Danny died trying to save a coworker's life. This beautiful song was played at his funeral. I tear up whenever I hear it. My youngest son's middle name is named after Uncle Danny.

3. "Fiction" by Avenged Sevenfold. I don't cry when I hear this song, but I feel like I want to. It has a beautiful, haunting piano introduction, and it is the last album that the Avenged drummer, The Rev, contributed to before he died. In this song, he eerily sings, "I know you'll find your own way, when I'm not with you." Every time I hear this, a wave of sadness comes over me.

What books, movies, or songs make you weepy?