Saturday, May 16, 2009

Star Trek and the joys of Genre storytelling

Saw Star Trek last night, a movie that when I first heard was coming out this summer, did not excite any interest for me. And then I saw the reviews and had to see it.
And it’s good. It relates back to the old TV series in clever ways, but at the same time the movie is a thousand times faster, more relevant and well, better written.
Hell, I even loved Kirk, a character up till now, I’d found annoying.

It’s a movie that seemed to really understand it’s genre, and rather than try and be something it’s not, it just tried to be the best of the genre and it really succeeded.

I still don’t understand, why, after both Battlestar and this movie, sci fi continues to get such a bad rap. Some of the most interesting story telling lately has been happening in this genre.

How does Star Trek relate to romance? Other than the common joys of great storytelling, there was a love for the genre on the screen. Whoever wrote this movie loves sci fi.

To me, to write romance well, you have to unabashedly love the genre. Which seems like a no brainer, but I’ve known people through my local RWA chapter who are trying to write romance, but really don’t enjoy the genre. Some, even expressed a disdain for it. They see it as an easier way to get published and hopefully by now have learned the error of their ways.

We don’t have to love all the books, but we have to be passionate about some romances to really write well in this genre. Because if people pick up a romance and are consistently surprised by the quality of the storytelling, then eventually, romance will no longer bear this stigma of being trashy.

Or maybe I’m just in an optimistic mood today..


Leah Braemel said...

Hubby and I are planning to see Star Trek later this week (he's on vacation.) Glad to hear it was good.

As for romance is easier to write? To those people I say, "Bah!" I swear it's tougher because you have to follow two characters' storylines and meld them together and make their relationship believable. It's a LOT tougher than people think.

Sinead M said...

Leah, it's such a fun movie.. especially if you watched the old Star Trek.
romance is a labour of love, no pun intended. I wish more people gave romance writers the credit they deserve.
at least the really good ones..

Maureen McGowan said...

That movie was AWESOME. I want to see it again. I keep thinking of it in terms of what I felt was wrong about that last Indiana Jones movie.

And yeah, I agree with what Leah said. Even "simple" romances are harder than most stories because to do a good job, you've got at least 4 major arcs to complete (before you start thinking about sub-plots). Both the hero and heroine's internal character arcs, the romance arc, and at least one external plot arc. That's a lot of balls to juggle, not to mention convincing readers that the couple is falling in love.

Amy Ruttan said...

I can't wait to see Star Trek, still haven't convinced hubby to take me. He's still so adamant I'll pop in the theatre from excitement.

Yay on Kirk, because he's never been my favorite, but I think I can like this guy and maybe understand him more.

Romance is hard to write. I love it so much and I keep it at, but just because it's the top seller it's not easy to write at all. I still remember riding the bus when I was pregnant with my first, before I really got into writing and I heard these two employees from Chapters talking about the cheapness of Romance and how they could write one no problem.

Kwana said...

First of all I loved Star Trek. You are so right you can tell it was written by a fan for fans.

Second who are these writers that don't like the genre. Point them out to me so I can smack them!

Sinead M said...

Maureen, loved it as well. Can't believe they made Spock hot.
Amy, you would really enjoy it.
Kwana, there is a general disdain out there for romance, from people that have read at most one..

Drives me up the wall as well. I haven't written off literary fiction because I read a book that bored me to tears..

Eileen said...


I think you're so so right. I know when I've lost enthusiasm for sub-genre I'm writing, it shows. Writing (or maybe it's publishing?) is too hard to do unless you really love what you're working on.

Margaret Moore said...

Okay, first, I have to set the record straight - Spock has ALWAYS been hot! I wouldn't be writing romance if it wasn't for Spock. That episode where he simply cannot control his emotions anymore? Oh, baby, oh, baby! There is one passionate guy behind that Vulcan wall! That's one reason I often write strong, silent-type heroes.

I was VERY fearful of this movie - yet, lo! They did it right! *They kept the focus on the characters and their relationships*. In this case, the special effects served the story and the characters, not the other way around around (yeah!).

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