One of the toughest things a writer has to deal with is leaving a hole in a main plot mechanism.
Another is bad self-editing.
|Ethan Hawke in 'Daybreakers.' Don't bother.|
It's a festival of bad movie tropes and a general underlying anti-corporate thread that, while largely true, is sort of dull.So many plot holes, so little time. My wife can put up with almost any level of overwhelming deus ex artifice, but this one had her running for the safety of the bedroom and her book with a good half-hour left.
I'm experimenting in my Brett Harris series with finding plot holes and converting them to actual plot points, twists that take it in another direction. It's not always the easiest process, but it's worth it when the story clicks.
I caught Tom Cruise’s recent science fiction flick Oblivion the other night; good plot, some of the same elements as the recent Moon with Sam Rockwell, but much more of a big budget conflict pic.
I was worried going in; I haven’t watched a Tom Cruise flick in years, since his excellent outing with Jamie Foxx, Collateral, in 2004. The media attention paid to his personal life was such a distraction, the idea just seemed distasteful.
Dumb move on my part; he’s a great actor, even when the material’s pretty good, like Oblivion, or pretty uneven, like Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol … which was big, dumb and explosive, but lots of fun.
For people who wonder why action movies always seem to remain a little in vogue, I point not to the aforementioned big, dumb explosions but to the fact that they’re basically episodic in structure; a series of chases offset with fights. It’s bite-sized; you can walk out of most of them for half an hour and not really miss anything, because most of them use a deux ex machina to solve whatever earth-shattering dilemma befalls the planet.
Easily digested, easily edited, rarely particularly deep or human.
But deep and human make life heavy; let’s face it, we need to dumb it down occasionally. Helps take the pressure off. And people, even famous actors, will go to all sorts of lengths for easy answers that dumb things down.
The movies aren’t always better for it, but they aren’t always awful, either.
One of the reasons I write fiction for a living is the chance for creative expression; at various times in my life I’ve also worked as a journalist, a blues musician and an actor. If my art was better, I’d probably try that, too.
Heck, if I was a better blues guitarist and was still clinically depressed, I might be doing that.
But I always come back to writing. I’m presently working on six different novels in five distinct genres as well as a movie script, and my first Kindle series, a science fiction spinoff from one of my earlier books. It’s pretty crazy, juggling that much at once, but rewarding, too. Anyone who writes at volume can tell you the fatigue from trying to think creatively constantly can really set in. I find by changing subject matter and characters, I get a change of scenery, too.
The hard part, as a mystery writer, is always finding that clever new way to off someone. I’m not sure there is a ‘new’ murder plot out there to be mined, any more. It’s all been done, as the Bard said. Or something like that.