“The real problem is not that we are different, nor that we disagree and have conflict. It's that most of us automatically view conflict as something negative rather than as a tool God can use to help us better understand ourselves and one another.

--Robert Ricciardelli”

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Me, On Stories, Books and Movies

Bet you thought this was going to be a review or something. Right?


Just some thoughts on what a good story is. This is another one of those write-don't-edit thiings. So, I don't guarantee a straight line of thought, either.

I love stories and movies that stir the imagination. Being a writer, I'm a sucker for a good story. Even so, I don't try to figure out whodunnit, or guess the ending. Really. I don't. I like to ride the story through and just see where it goes. Of course, after I've finished a book once, I go back and take it apart to see how things were put together...I do it to movies, too. I recently used the opening from Saharra to teach my kids about estimating. But, that's how writers get better...Well, one way at least...Anyway, the best stories are where the characters tell the story. (Don't you just hate movies where the it all seems to be about the actor?) Nearly all writers--at least the ones who have written how-to-write books that I've read--will tell you they enjoy it when their characters take over a story. I know I do.

However, stirring the imagination through terror and horror has no appeal to me. There are times a story requires some death, destruction, fear, etc. (vis a vis Saving Private Ryan). When and where it fits the story, things should be put in. But, I'm not into stories that are all about just scaring people for the sake of scaring them. Occult/voodoo movies don't do a lot for me--even the so-called funny ones. I have too many experiences with the reality of that stuff. I've actually known a couple of practicing witches over the years. I also learned a lot about astrology and horoscopes and taro cards and what not during high school and college. Then, about 18 years ago, I met Jesus, and quickly realized all of that is a pale comparison to the real Living God. I've never gone back.

Hhhmmm...another rabbit trail...Well, back to the subject at hand...

I think fear/terror and violence, and especially sex, are way to overused in movies and TV. So much of this stuff seems to be put in just to have it in there. Most of it isn't needed for the story, so it could easily be left out. Of course, it could also simply be left off screen. Now there is a lost art...alluding to something without showing it. What could Hollywood and the rest of the media accomplish if they started doing that? Or, would we let them? Would America just howl over the loss of the sex and gore, claiming censorship? Well...that's probably a subject for another time.