Story vs. Story

Why Books are Always Better than Movies Credit: Wiki Commons

One of the things I love about writing… you are always learning something.

Who would have thought that my Theater training would come up again? Or my love of data and the way things fit together.

I’ve spent the last week struggling with my re-write. Because I wrote a story that had more emotional gravitas a few weeks ago and realize that I’d like to do it again. One of the things I’ve noticed is that my work is emotionally about as deep as a kitten scratch. That maybe unkind but is often true. I like the action, I like the stress on my characters to come from outside of them, not internal strife, and I hate people who don’t know what they want.

Okay – for awhile I was one of those people. But I annoyed myself.

I also have a whole list of plot points that I take issue with…

I hate when the main character goes all wobbly in the head and does something stupidly out of character because the author needs to move the plot forward. (Yes, that means that I can only do so much Chick Lit).

I hate when there is some simple misunderstanding, which if known, could solve everything in less than five minutes.

I hate when authors don’t give me something to care about. I picked up a novel, damn don’t even remember the name, and by the end of the third chapter I’d met all the characters – not a single one of whom I gave a damn about. So, I put the book down.

Oh, and once you make me care for someone – don’t drop them and move thousands of years in the future. I could never read the Foundation Trilogy for that reason. Each time I started really caring about the characters we jumped into the future. 

I hate inconsistency. This is specific to anytime you are creating a world that runs on rules that aren’t ours. Be consistent. Don’t suddenly allow a solution that was impossible a few chapters ago just because you painted yourself into a corner or thought of something cool you wanted to do.

And finally… where have all the editors gone? Please don’t put everything and the kitchen sink into your story. That is the beauty of stories – they are streamlined reality – they aren’t real life with its stops and starts, its unfinished plots, and chaos. Story has pattern and form – keep it consistent. Just because you like an idea doesn’t mean that it belongs.

There are more… but some of them are very genre specific. Since I’m collecting these what are yours? It is always interesting to find out what drive others up the wall when they are reading a book or watching a show.

What drives you insane?

~ Tess

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