The Bookish Fox

Writing Lesson from Ladybird

Lady Bird won a Golden Globe last night, and I was far from surprised. I had seen a lot of hype on Facebook about it (based on the ads I see, Facebook clearly has my number), and when one of my closest friends raved about it to me, I knew I had to see it.

So one snowy day, I dragged my best friend to see it with me (my husband opted for The Shape of Water instead, which is a post for another day). I fell in love. I laughed and, well, I didn’t cry, but I laughed. A lot. My friend and I were astonished that the rest of the theater wasn’t laughing as much as us, but I think they simply didn’t get it. 

Besides all the nostalgia the movie invoked (I am sorry, but “Crash Into Me” was not a good song then, and it isn’t certainly good now), it taught me some awesome writing lessons.

1. The Protagonist Doesn’t Have to Be Likable

Lady Bird isn’t going to win Miss Congeniality. She plays (an admittedly hilarious) prank of a nun, is mean to her mom sometimes, and is a self-absorbed friend. Yet we all still root for because we can see ourselves in her. Nobody, especially in high school, is perfect. If she were the pretty, popular, perfect student, we, as viewers, would probably hate her guts because that isn’t relatable. Which leads nicely to…

2. Keep It Real

I cringed so much and laughed so hard during that movie because it was so much like my high school experience. I had stupid pretensions like Lady Bird did (okay, I didn’t change my name, but you get the idea). I had fights with my mom (the dressing room scene was so real to me). I fell for the wrong guys. I wore clothing that was pretty hideous. What the movie does so well is that it doesn’t present a Freddie Prinze Jr. view of high school: everyone is rich, beautiful, and put together. It presents the teenage experience in all its acne glory. 

3. You Don’t Need a Neat Ending

We don’t really know what happens next at the end of Lady Bird. And that’s okay. Life doesn’t work that way. There is never a moment where Sixpence None the Richer starts playing and we think: “I’ve made it.” No. We are always on a journey. It is okay to have your endings reflect that. 

Have you seen any of the Golden Globe winners? Tell me what you thought in the comments below.

P.S. The winner from last week’s giveaway is Jennifer S. You should have gotten an email from me. Thank you so much to everyone who participated. You all are the wind beneath my wings. You have helped me create better content and services for you. 

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