Tuesday, February 7, 2012
In SAVE THE CAT, by Blake Snyder, he uses the term Double Mumbo Jumbo.
It's a rule that says: An audience (or reader) will only accept one piece of MAGIC per movie (or book).
He cites two movie examples that broke this rule and therefore, didn't work.
In the original Spider Man, the audience had to accept that a kid became a super hero from a spider bite AND that the green goblin became evil from a lab experiment. In the movie Signs, which is supposed to be about finding faith, aliens show up at the end, putting two opposing viewpoints at odds against each another.
Hmm...I actually liked both movies. Signs did get hokey at the end ("Swing away Merrill!"), and I hadn't considered what Spider Man would have been like without showing how the Green Goblin came to be.
But I do see his point!
It's true in our writing that we can try to throw in everything but the kitchen sink, even in contemporary novels. It takes patience and practice to par things down and let one over-arching conflict take center stage!
Because hey, everybody's got issues, all of our characters have stuff going on. But we don't want to give our readers whiplash or a headache.
We want them to sit with our "MAGIC", consider all sides, and relish the small moments that meld with it. And then we want them to buy into, while simultaneously coming to accept and love our main character! That's a big load, so why add too many "extras"?
So if you have too many issues--magical or not--going on in your novel, take a chill pill and then pull out your scissors. :D