I realized last night that I have a problem. One I simply must push past. When I know bad things are coming, in a book or a movie or a tv show, I don't want to watch it. I don't want to continue, even when it's a cliffhanger. For example, hubby loves The West Wing (if you haven't watched WW, then a mild spoiler is coming — be aware!). We came to it late, so we've been watching it on DVD, and we just ended Season 4 about a month ago. This is where Bartlet's daughter is kidnapped. Most people would just be dying to get to Season 5, to find out what happens.
Not me. I resisted his efforts to get me to watch the next episode until last night. And of course I loved it! I loved the resolution to the crisis, the way all these characters work together, the way the story is always told so well.
So why do I resist when I know it will be good? Maybe I'm afraid it won't be good, that somehow they'll disappoint me. Or maybe I'm afraid that something worse will happen and I just don't want to know. But if I have this trouble with well-crafted stories, both print and visual, how am I to know that I'm capable of doing bad things, really bad things, to my own characters?
I think I can, but then last night I got to thinking about it when I was resisting and finally caving on WW. Why do I want to avoid the bad stuff? Do I do it when I write? Do I make bad things happen, but not bad enough? Do I need to look deeper, think harder, and make it worse?
Am I the only person with this kind of wacky problem? Do you have trouble watching the bad parts of television shows, or reading beyond the first really bad thing in a book?
I guess maybe the lesson here is that when I'm writing, I know I have to watch for this. I know I have to look doubly hard at the bad stuff and make sure it's bad enough. Maybe it's good to know I have this issue.
What about you? Do you have something to watch out for in your writing?
I hate cliffhangers. So much, I’ve taken to TiVo-ing entire seasons so I can watch without waiting “until next week.”
Shows like Lost (as much as I love it) annoy the living crap out of me because there’s just too much “wait and see.”
Yes, I am instant gratification girl. ::shrugs::
I agree with recording whole seasons! Yes ma’am! But I can still get to a cliffhanger and get stubborn about proceeding. I don’t know why. Sometimes, the cliffhanger pisses me off, LOL. Other times I guess maybe I just don’t want to know (like with the kidnapping). So goofy.
OTOH, my hubby has this really annoying tendency to want to watch everything all at once. Give him a season of West Wing or Battlestar Galactica, and he’ll want to watch episode after episode after episode. Me, I need a break. Two or three in a row is my limit. 🙂
Funny enough, we’ve still not watched Lost, and I’ve never seen the episode he’s in. He saw it because one of the guys at his work bought it from iTunes. I would like to see it, but if I start at the beginning of the season, it’ll take me forever. 🙂
I don’t like certain types of cliffhangers… like the gratuitious kind… It seems like so much of TV and writing nowadays is too much of this type. If I set a book down, I refuse to go back to it.
And, it might not be you… it might just be the writing.
Just dropped by to say HI. 🙂 I got your emails and I’ll answer them tomorrow, I promise. Hope your writing is going well. I started blogging again after a five-month hiatus. Go figure. I needed the break.
Cyn, I hate contrived cliffhangers too. Maybe it’s that we’re more sensitive to them now that they are a common device, or maybe they really are that bad. I can’t decide if I’m jaded and just don’t take the pleasure I used to in stories of if the writers aren’t working hard enough.