Not only has being a writer changed how I read, it has changed how I judge all stories. Let’s take television.
Story structure and its plot points stand out during television shows. The commercial breaks appear immediately after the hook and the mid-twist are set, and the final conflict begins.
The Not So Good:
Long ago a friend, rather bored, commented, “Here’s the part when the star gets a knock on the head.” Apparently she noticed it happened every week. After I paid closer attention, I had to agree. It DID happen every week.
She also told me that nothing more than a knock on the head would ever happen to the star. Why? Because there would be no show.
She opened my eyes.
I discovered the racing to save someone device on my own and laugh aloud when the stars jump in a car to race across town. We all know this can be done in five-to-ten minutes. (Nope, don’t think so.)
So as the bomb ticks down or a person is being murdered the hero races across town. Although the actor is very good at hurrying. They make all the appropriate faces and skid around corners.
One question always pops into my head: Why don’t they call for the closest police car to save them instead?
What I’m getting at is, storytellers need to realize readers/viewers need more than recipes and devices. Eventually, the fans see through them.
Some writers get it. As Bossman, my son, said, “That’s why I love Game of Thrones. It’s unpredictable.”
What other stories or storytellers are unpredictable? I’d love to check them out.