Monday, February 02, 2009

It's About Trust...

It's like Christmas morning right now with all of this fabulous television, my DVD's of The Wire and my big box of Rita Books. Seriously, I'm so entertained I don't know what to do with myself. Lost isn't making me crazy yet, Friday Night Lights is like eating a big bowl of home made macaroni and cheese and Battlestar! Sweet sweet Battlestar.

Will watching this week's episode I realized the writers of Battlestar and The Wire have never betrayed me. They've never taken my trust and gone running off into crazy plot land, or extraneous character-ville. I trust them. I trust them so much that when they introduce something new, something delicious and subtle and small - I know I'm in good hands. I know that small detail is going to matter. It's going to be big in a way I won't see coming. When they introduce those new details, or characters or subplots - I'm thrilled. I literally rub my hands together with glee.

Lost does it and I'm like - "what the hell are they doing now." Because Lost took my trust and went berserk. And while Friday Night Lights is doing a great job, I still remember the dead body subplot from season two and when something new crops up on the show, I'm worried. Nervous that they'll blow it again.

I've had some excellent Rita entries this year. But I've had a few that don't even bother to try and earn my trust. Because trust involves mystery. It requires the reader to say - well, not too sure where you're headed, but I'm with you. You've got me.

And the last few books have been spoon-feeding me character and backstory and conflict, like they don't trust me to get there on my own. Trust, clearly is a two way street.

So, my takeaway is that unless we trust our readers to follow the breadcrumbs, they're never going to trust us to take them someplace fabulous.


Amy Ruttan said...

After that post I don't know if I'm hungry for a good book or hungry for homemade macaroni and cheese.

Probably the latter. ;)

Maureen McGowan said...

I'm hungry for both :-)

Sinead M said...

It's not fair talking about homemade mac and cheese when I can't get my hands on any...

It's a tricky line, giving our readers just enough, but when done well, wow!

Kimber Chin said...

This leads into a discussion I've been having with another writer.
Do we have to clearly answer all the questions asked?
Can we trust the reader to reach a certain conclusion on her own?
Do we have to show the heroine pull the trigger or is the smoking gun in her hand enough?

Anyway, this is off topic
but if you're looking for post ideas...

Stephanie Doyle said...

Molly - please remember what I said about the WIRE season 5. Trust me and let it go.

You won't, because you'll think you need to know how it ends, but it will be the first time that the writers break your trust and you'll be sad for it.

It is still better than most everything out there - but we'll have to talk about just when the wheels came off the truck.

Which to me just goes to show... writing - it ain't easy.

It's hard to have perfect plot, characterization, sub plot, nuance, intelligence, voice, dialogue and wrap that up with a thrilling twist and satisfying end.

Whether books, TV or movies. And can I say how long it's been since a movie delivered that for me!

But I guess we have to keep trying.

Alli said...

...unless we trust our readers to follow the breadcrumbs, they're never going to trust us to take them someplace fabulous.

That is so true. It's a very fine line, but I've found as a reader and writer, trust is what will make or break a story every time.

K J Gillenwater said...

Since I've seen this season of FNL on Directv...don't worry, they won't betray your trust this season. :-)

Sinead M said...

Oooh... FNL is so good this season, in the three episodes I've seen, and so glad it stays that way..

Molly O'Keefe said...

Stephanie - I will not listen to you. I am so in love with this series...seriously, Sinead and Maureen - I am withholding DWT until one of you starts to watch it. That's right. No drinking. No talking. Not even a little.

Kimber- I think those questions are totally on topic. How little can we give our reader and still have them follow us. I'm learning that it's less and less. But it's a fine line, for sure. Stupidly, it reminds me of something Bruce Willis said about how he approached acting during the 6th Sense. He wanted to see how still he could be and still keep viewers attention - come to find out the more still he was, the more people watched him.

I think that holds true for us as writers.

Kimber Chin said...

Molly, that Bruce Willis quote is an eye opener. Because he is still, any movement is significant.

So does this translate into... if we don't answer all the questions, the ones we do answer are hyped?

Is it a context thing?

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