Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Lessons from another movie...

We have Netflix. Normally I love Netflix, it's a great program, and we save so much money (especially now that you can't just go to Blockbuster anymore and shop for a rental in person) We probably average 3-5 movies a month. Sometimes less, sometimes more. Anyway, great set-up!
Except on Boy Night.
I try to switch our selections around in our online queue, to keep it fair for me and Hubby- chick flick or romantic comedy, then an Boy Movie, then maybe an action movie we can watch together, etc. That way if he's at the fire station, I can watch a Girl Movie at home alone, or he can take his Boy Movie to the fire station, then we get the occasional home date night where we enjoy one together or pick one out for Little Miss to watch.
Well - last was Boy Night but I mistakenly thought it could be a Together Movie. I was wrong. It was the movie Faster, starring "The Rock" and Billy Bob Thornton. We watched the whole thing, me cringing between my fingers at the really gory and realistic violence, and at the end we both said "That was sort of pointless."

But I have a point, don't worry ;)
I learned lessons about pacing for my writing. See, in the movie, The Rock is on a killing spree, and for a LONG time (too long) we don't know why. We just know it has something to do with the picture he keeps looking at it of him and another guy (a friend or brother, we assume) that was clearly taken a long time ago. They didn't work in the backstory nearly enough for the first third of the movie.
For too long, I knew I was SUPPOSED to have sympathy for The Rock and cheer him on for his cause but uh...they didn't explain the reasons. (however, once I eventually found out the reasons, I was like "uh, yeh, go get 'em!) But the pacing was off. And they also messed with us viewers, giving us sympathy for the pending victims of the Rock when it was obviously misplaced and those victims (in my opinion, which is why I can't go into criminal justice) more than deserved what the Rock was doing.
Readers aren't as patient, I don't think. If I had been reading a novel (or someone reading mine) and didn't get that reader sympathy from the beginning, I'd (they'd) have shut the book. You too? Or are you more patient?
Regardless, please learn the lessons here, preferably without having to watch the 1 hour and 38 minutes of violence. (Next up is a total chick flick in our queue!)
1. Pacing is key.
2. Character sympathy is key and you want to establish it early on.

3. There's a difference between great twists and straight up misleading your reader.
I'm so ready for Reese Witherspoon now.....


  1. What exactly is pacing?

    I love Reese Witherspoon too :) I've been torn between Netflix & amazon prime. I have to read more about them

  2. Pacing is the flow of your story. The pace of how it goes from one point to another. Have you ever watched a movie or read a book that just seemed to take you forever to get through it, or made you bored? was "too slow"? That's bad pacing. Same with rushing scenes or chapters, too much info or happening at once. Pacing was off. The story should build and progress, not be too slow or too fast.

  3. I think that's where my writing gets messed up. I tend to want to rush straight from main event to next main event and I have a hard time filling in the gaps.

  4. I have a question.
    What might be some benefits/drawbacks of trying to write your own story as a work of fiction?

  5. Hi Ashley! That's a great question. My first thought is "wow, privacy invasion!" So it depends on the topics you're addressing and if you're ready for the whole world to know them. :) Unless you write your life story as fiction and don't tell anyone it's based on you. lol I think all authors put a bit of themselves in every story, in some way, even if its just in the character's favorite color or hobby or coffee preference. Benefits, might be that you don't get writer's block because you already know what happens...?

    1. Oh goodness. My story is hardly a privacy invasion. :) No deep dark secrets (none to tell). Just a funny, lighthearted story about a girl looking to go into sports medicine and her senior year running with her small hometown football team. Learning how to love, serve, and just let God move. Haha. Sounds like I'm writing the summary on the back of the book.

    2. Oh and I'd definitely write it as a work of fiction closely based upon the true story.

  6. Hahaha... well, I told Ethan when we first got engaged that he could have one boy movie for every three chick-flicks. Sounds like your man has the better deal...