Monday, September 03, 2007

World Building

I just finished the first JR Ward book and my husband and I rented Black Snake Moan (the movie with Samuel L. Jackson and Christina Ricci set in the south - it was sort of mismanaged by marketing folk because it became known as the nympho chained to the radiator movie when it's really really so so so much more than that.) But the book and the movie built worlds so seamless and compelling that they became practically the main characters of the stories.

The movie worked mostly because the dialogue was unbelievably true - amazingly true and it only fueled my jealous rage over southern writers who are tapped into something I just can't even pretend to replicate. And Samuel L. Jackson while not my favorite actor delivered this performance like he was born in it. But the other reason it worked and it's the same reason the Ward books work so well - there's no telling. It's just questions. The writers barely stopped to explain anything - granted Ward cheated brilliantly with her glossary of terms. She didn't have to stop and figure out a moment where one character tells another character what the reader needs to know - she did it at the beginning. And frankly, considering the plot of that first book she could have done it - but the fact that she didn't makes me like those books even more. But in Black Snake Moan it really felt like the writer was saying - if you can't figure this out - don't watch the movie. Not that there was that much to figure out but still - it just flowed - everything happened in real time. So the world never broke.

The Ward series is amazing. She's got a knack for the small moments that show and don't tell. I thought she went a little overboard with her guy talk - but that's just me - and frankly it's her world. She gets to do whatever she wants with it.


Anonymous said...

Holy Crap! you read that fast... you just got that book Sunday eve..
Molly is officially a speed reader..

You're right, JR Ward's stuff is all about the right details to make her world really authentic.

Maureen McGowan said...

I wish I could read that fast. Must train myself.

Now I did watch Black Snake Moan and I agree that it built a very believable world. As far as marketing that movie... It suffers from the same problem many "art movies" or literary fiction novels for that matter do. It's hard to define it and therefore hard to market it. So they go for the most salacious element and hope that the scandal or controversy (I remember women's groups complaining) will bring people to the theatres.

Some time we should discuss Justin Timberlake as an actor. I admit I do not get his appeal as a singer. Sure, he's cute, the the falsetto faux R&B thing is not for me... Maybe it's an age thing. He just doesn't do it for me. But I've seen him in a few movies now and he's been pretty good. He's smart not to let himself fall into big hollywood movies, too. If his goal is to be respected as an actor at some point in his life... Well, he's making good choices. I'd be curious to know what you guys think of Alpha Dogs. (in case that seemed like a bizarre segue... JT is in Black Snake Moan.)

Unknown said...

Oh man I love JR Ward's books. I only discovered them a month ago, and now I'm dying for the next one! She really pulled me in with her world building.

I want to be like her when I grow up. :)

Molly O'Keefe said...

There's a great interview in the new RT - Suzanne Brockman interviews JR Ward -- it's pretty cool. I too can't wait to read the next ones -- I only read it so fast because I skimmed the bad guys POV -- I thought it was the only weak spot in a very strong story.

I thought JT was really good in that movie -- the problem is he's always going to be JT.

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