"Everybody has a secret world inside of them. All of the people of the world, I mean everybody. No matter how dull and boring they are on the outside, inside them they've all got unimaginable, magnificent, wonderful, stupid, amazing worlds. Not just one world. Hundreds of them. Thousands maybe" ~ Neil Gaiman (A Game of You)


Enough Is Enough Already

I've discovered that not writing is much harder than writing.  I'm focusing my energy on my move, but my stories, all of them, keep dancing in my head, vying for attention.  My fingers itch.  And so, to calm the writer me, I have been reading books on the craft at night before bed.

Just last night, I was reading Orson Scott Card's Characters & Viewpoint.  In his chapter How to Raise Emotional Stakes, he talks about how slasher movies have raised the stakes so far that they've become laughable.  Today, I saw another example of going too far.

I caught the end of an episode of CSI.  I recognized that the writers were trying to raise the stakes -- one up themselves from previous episodes.  I realized how draining that must be with such a long-running series.  The outcome was truly laughable.  The forensics have now advanced to where they could get a voice recording from a clay vase, like a gramophone (really?).  Even the highly technical explanation couldn't shake the "no way" factor for me.  Also, the killer was a mother in an incestuous relationship with her mentally ill son who was having a homosexual relationship with another mental patient.  Again, really?

Sensationalism is no excuse for emotional resonance, the holy grail of good writing.  But, thanks, CSI for giving me a great illustration of Card's point.  It's not something I'm likely to forget.


Renee said...

Oh, I totally agree with the overkill on sensationalism...Seriously is right...Who makes that stuff up????
I, like you, must write whether it is good, bad, or ugly.

Sue Jackson said...

How is the Card book? I'm a big fan of his series that starts with Ender's Game - he's an amazing writer! He just published a brand-now teen/YA novel that I can't wait to read.


Cathryn Grant said...

Very well said. I have those moments far too often in movies ... I seem to do a better job of avoiding novels that mistake sensationalism or absurdity for raising the stakes.

Shelli said...

Sue -- His book is very good. I loved Ender's Game the short story way better than the novels. I'll have to look into his new YA novel.

Renee-- Yay! Keep writing!

Cathryn -- Maybe that's because there are far fewer choices when it comes to movies.