Tuesday, May 14, 2013

What Happens Next

Oh my gosh! I haven't blogged in forever! Hello, it's me again! Good to see you!

Oh, and I even have a topic this time!

Often when watching movies with my husband I do this thing that's probably exceptionally annoying: I guess out loud what the next plot development, or line of dialog, is going to be.

I couldn't tell you my batting average, but it seems pretty good. At least, the hubby is fairly impressed now and then when I can say "a potato" three seconds before the actor on the screen says "a potato."

But there's really nothing to be impressed about. For me, this is just a natural reflex that comes about from having been steeped in fiction--whether written or filmed--for all my life. And, on top of that, from having absorbed a wide array of plot points and lines of rote dialog in that time, as well as from reading up on writing theory. When you're watching a comedy and you just know the punchline to a joke is going to be the most unbelievable thing you can think of--well, think of that, then.

For example, we used to love to watch this show called Dead Like Me. Oh, how I miss it. Once, when the main character suddenly had to explain to her rather old-fashioned boss why her computer password was a creatively inappropriate word, I took my wildest logical guess.

"It was my hamster," I decided for her.

"That was my hamster's name," George said. Yes, a girl named George. Deal with it.

My hubby thought this was some real impressive, maybe pseudo-scientific, ability. Next I'd be bending spoons and weaving carpets with my brain! No, I'd just spent so many hours watching this show, and other shows and movies like it, that it made sense. What else would a girl like George say when put on the spot?

I wonder if other people out there have this experience. Studying the ins and outs of how to write, or construct plots, or create characters, puts me in the position of always analyzing other people's writing (including films and TV), even if only at a subconscious level, to decide what happens next. Or which main character gets the girl. Or whether the monster is behind the door or in the vat of toxic chemicals. If I can figure out how a story is going to resolve well before I get to the end, I get bored and feel patronized. Maybe this is why I so rarely watch movies a second time, or reread books--the surprise is gone, I've got it figured out, and that's what held my interest.

Sometimes I think it would be better to be in my hubby's shoes. He has no reason to study plot construction or writing theory so, when watching a movie, he can just think, "This is so cool! This is great!" while I'm thinking, "Wow, the music and shadows build tension so effectively--I wonder how I'd turn that into words on a page? If the monster isn't in this vat of chemicals this whole movie is a cop-out--oh, and why was this main character chick sleeping in her makeup, again?" (Why do they ALWAYS do that??)

After delving into the many theories of how to make a plot into a well-oiled machine, it's almost impossible to watch movies purely for entertainment anymore. Sometimes it works, but more often, not. Which is disappointing. I don't watch movies because I want to see how the actors/directors/scriptwriters effectively portray pathos, but because I want to be entertained. But now that I know some of these secrets, it's impossible not to see them in everything I watch and read. Alas! The magic is gone! Or something.


In other EXCITING NEWS, my third short story has been announced, along with all the other contents for Playing with Fire, Third Flatiron's newest anthology! My THIRD story, THIRD Flatiron--sounds like it was meant to be! You can take a look here: http://www.thirdflatiron.com/liveSite/pages/news if you're the sort of person who likes to look at lists of names and story titles. I do believe Third Flatiron has saved the best for last with this book. Ho, ho.

If you like to look at LONGER lists of names, I'm also posted on Writers of the Future's blog for Honorable Mention right here: http://www.writersofthefuture.com/blog. You have to hit "read more" and really search, but I'm in there, I promise!

ALSO AWESOME is the fact that I will be participating in a Blog Hop next Monday. All right, so I'll be honest: I don't know what it is or what happens if I do it wrong (the blog gods shall smite me! Save yourselves!!), but I'm going to do it anyway. I will be answering questions about what I'm currently working on (HA! Surviving, that's what!) which, I must admit, looked easier before I started trying to answer them. So stay tuned, all! It's going to be lots of fun! 

No comments:

Post a Comment