11.5.13

The writing process is an interesting beast. While everyone has been powering along in this first week of NaNoWriMo, I've been doing a lot of thinking, and plotting, and a lot of movie watching. Movies are a great way to both refill the well and learn pacing and three act structures. Two divergent thoughts:

Yesterday we saw ENDER'S GAME, based on the eponymous novel by Orson Scott Card. I read ENDER'S GAME this summer on vacation, and absolutely loved it. I thought the movie did a decent job of following the book, though it was the ultimate example of tell, not show. 

As novelists, show, not tell is drummed into our heads from the first day. Telling is lazy, showing is talent. But as always, there's two sides to most writing rules, and showing and telling is one of them. Sometimes, the curtains are blue. They don't need to be described to the N-th degree. Talent is knowing when to tell and when to show.

But in this particular movie, if you didn't already know the story, it was difficult to connect with the main character, Ender Wiggin. In the book, we see him earn the respect of the children he eventually leads. In the movie, we're just told, and not told well, in a variation of the Greek chorus that is disjointed at best.  

Moral of the story: Don't be lazy, but don't overdo it, either. 

The second movie was WHITE HOUSE DOWN. It utilized some of the sheer ridiculousness that makes a good thriller. Part of what we're doing is creating a world and situation that in reality could strain credulity, but in fiction, is plausible, IF handled correctly. But there is one thing that is never, ever plausible -- the bad guys who are deadly accurate with their weapons, use a single head shot to kill fifty people, but manage to spend two hours missing the hero with both submachine guns and mounted machine guns. Come on, people.  

Moral of the story: Don't make your readers hunger to check their email when they're reading your unbelievable action scenes. 

The minions had their first vet appointment today, and have been running around like crazed demons all afternoon. I can't begin to tell you how cute they are.  

Sweet dreams! 

J.T. Ellison

New York Times bestselling author J.T. Ellison writes dark psychological thrillers starring Nashville Homicide Lt. Taylor Jackson and medical examiner Dr. Samantha Owens, and pens the Nicholas Drummond series with #1 New York Times bestselling author Catherine Coulter. Cohost of the premier literary television show, A Word on Words, Ellison lives in Nashville with her husband and twin kittens.

For more insight into her wicked imagination, join J.T.’s email list at jtellison.com/subscribe, or follow her online at Facebook.com/JTEllison14 or on Twitter @thrillerchick.