Saturday, October 10, 2015

What Is Your Gold Standard?

by Jean Kavich Bloom

In a novel I recently edited, the author wrote a scene where a man collapses in grief upon learning his father has just died. It reminded me of my personal gold standard for "a man in grief."

In a scene from the film Return to Me, actor David Duchovny plays a man who has just returned home from the hospital where his wife died from car-accident injuries suffered earlier in the evening. If you don’t mind a little gut-wrenching, you can watch this early-in-the-film scene at about the 12:30 mark on YouTube. It’s brief, but it gets me every time.

We probably have all experienced scenes from books or films that have become our gold standard prototypes, even if we don’t realize it. As I have written here before, Anne of Anne of Green Gables is a character that for many women is the ideal prototype for a young girl, forever in our minds and hearts though the setting is a hundred years ago. Perhaps Jan Karon has written the gold standard prototype for many as she creates a particular kind of place with the small town in her Mitford series. The possibilities for gold standard prototypes are endless, from character and place to . . . well, you tell me!

Can you cite a gold standard from a book or film that inspires your own writing? What is it? We’d love to know!

After twenty-four years with publishing house Zondervan in Grand Rapids, Michigan, most recently as an executive managing editor, Jean Bloom returned to Central Indiana to be near family and take her freelance editorial business full-time (Bloom in Words Editorial Services). Her personal blog is Bloom in Words too, where she often posts articles about the writing life. She and her husband, Cal, have three children and five grandchildren.

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  1. Dorothy Canfield Fisher's UNDERSTOOD BETSY illustrated New England for me. I used to wonder why I always felt like I was coming home when I went to Vermont--I think maybe that was way.

  2. "Coming Home" by Rosamund Pilcher shows a girl growing to womanhood, basically on her own, making choices and surviving WWII.