Thursday, February 5, 2009

So I'm watching tv, and I'm thinking
Number one, this is why I don't get anything done.
Number two, why are there little black ants everywhere?
And number three, I don't want to get a cup of milk because I might miss something.
And that's when I notice, in good movies, you don't want to miss a chapter because you know you will miss something important. Even when it turns out to be a red herring, or something, you just get drawn into good movies, they make you think that something is going to happen, and it is so well plotted you want to watch to figure out what is going on.
Which is suddenly a problem when I realize THE ANTS HAVE A NEST UNDER THE TV. The little black bastards. Thank you, lord, for raid and other toxic goodies. Now how much of the movie did I miss? And why do I care? Figure that out and you have a lead for a bestselling book. The movie, by the way, insomnia. A bit slow. Very little appearance by Robin Williams. But still. It’s good, what I can hear of it. I hate movies that mumble
And why? Because a good movie is one where you need to hear the lines to know what is going on. And how is your book? If someone skipped a chapter, does anyone care?
Ah ha. The problem wrong with most books. Just don't care, and just don't need to care.
A good plot so should draw you in, with help from the characters, plus, it needs to have a reason to exist.
You think the chapter with the dog is cute. But it doesn't move the plot. You know what your readers will think? they'll think it's not important (they are right, by the way. And you know it.) then, they think the rest of the book might be the same way, then they think….
It's a problem, and we know why. C'mon now, say it with me.
Yes it needs to be said loudly because it is very important. You, the author, are not just god of your little world but a grand manipulator. Why do you think bad guys wore black and kicked cats? Why did good guys wear white and save someone in the first ten minutes? Ta da. Manipulation. A bad guy must be deplorable, not loved, or he is not a bad guy.
Dexter, the series and the book, straddles this line. The main character is a serial killer, but a good one. Clean. Polite. Caring. Kills only bad guys. Not a real person.
He's not leaving innocent people in pieces in the ditch, good ness know. His likableness depends on neatly hiding the bodies of only the bad doers. Such a tidy person.
A real life serial killer? Not likable. Usually.
A clever red herring is planted by letting readers think what you want them to think. a little sleight of hand and people are convinced your false clue is real. It blends in. they think only what you want them to think.
darkwing duck, by the way, is helping by licking up the little black bastard ants.
if you catch the reference, good for you.
it's the name of a disney character and my mom's cat.

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