Monday, February 4, 2013

Fighting Predictability

Over on, Pixar storyboard artist Emma Coats compiled a great list, not just for scriptwriters, but fiction writers in general: The 22 rules of storytelling, according to Pixar.

My favorite advice was Number 12:

Discount the 1st thing that comes to mind. And the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th – get the obvious out of the way. Surprise yourself.

A predictable story, while it can be good, is far less fun and satisfying for the reader or viewer than one that takes you by surprise every now and again. I watched Crazy Stupid Love the other day, and was enjoying it well enough, until an unexpected twist completely blew me away. I was literally roflol-ing. I had not seen it coming. At. All. 

Others might have - I could imagine my dad and brother going "yeah, I thought that might happen". They're very clever when it comes to this sort of thing, but I tend to think that takes some of the enjoyment out of the experience for them. Unless maybe they like knowing they were right. :-)

But I'm getting off track.

What I meant to show was that, because of that unexpected-to-me twist near the end, I am going to remember this movie. Even 50 years from now; even if I never see it again. Without the twist, it would have been lost in the recesses of my mind that are already stacked to the brim with fun and forgettable romcoms, which all go by the same formula and have thus become predictable. 

So that's my goal: get the obvious out of the way. Surprise myself with my writing. 

I figure: if I can surprise even myself, the readers and viewers of my stories will be surprised, too. And then they'll enjoy it and want to read on. 

No comments:

Post a Comment