Sunday, September 4, 2011

Step by Step

Having read the rave reviews, I saw the movie "The Debt" this weekend. The acting was good. Still, the final scene happened too was too coincidental, leaving me with the feeling a crucial step had been omitted. Film directors can get away with this. In films the action is rapid. The viewer's visual senses are fully engaged. When something happens that the viewer doesn't understand, he passes it off to inattentiveness.

The writer doesn't have this luxury. Everything has to add up, because the reader can flip back and check the sequence of events. Well, yes, you can play a film back, but you are less likely to do this. In the book I'm currently reading, the protagonist stops and puzzles over something someone said that will give him a clue to the killer. I went back and found the reference. I don't understand it yet, and at this point in the novel, neither does the protagonist. We're both waiting to see what it means.

A key to good writing: Take it step by step. No rushes to the finish.


  1. Linda,

    Good point! I've seen lots of movies that made me wish I could review a couple of scenes or some dialogue.

    Yes, writers need to be careful when building a plot, but if well done the reader can always check out a bit of information and be assured the writer constructed a solid foundation.

  2. And for writers, that is the beauty of revision. Unless you are a meticulous plotter, you are bound to miss a step or two or three. But in revision, you can put those steps in seamlessly.

  3. OH, i skimmed your post because I am seeing it tonight and wans't sure if you gave away anything! But I'll try to remember to come back and comment afterwards!

  4. Ah, okay, saw the film. I agree with you that in a novel, you have to be even more careful about , but I actually don't agree that the end was too coincidental. (I thought the screenwriter conveyed the "connection", but I don't' want to say too much for fear of ruining it for anyone.)