Thursday, September 9, 2010

Where are the Plot Holes People?

Do you know what really makes me mad?

When you go to a movie, all prepared to pick said movie apart, and there are NO PLOT HOLES!!! What's up with that? I want plot holes people, poor writing, people screaming through the water (because some people forget humans can’t breath hundreds of feet under the ocean). I was truly disappointed.

We took our kids to a movie (I won’t mention which one) and it was good. I mean, the beginning was action packed, the loose ends were all tied up. What is with that?

I wasn’t disappointed at all! Which…is kind of disappointing. j/k

But honestly, there was one thing that came to mind as I was watching "no-plot-hole" movie. You can learn a lot about writing when watching the cinema.

For instance:

Does the movie catch your attention at the beginning?

Do you find your mind wandering in the middle of an “important” scene?

What about the ending, does it leave you feeling, “Oh yeah! AWESOME!” or “Why didn't she just pick up that stick and beat the bad guy with it?" Come on lazy girl! (That one always drives me crazy.)

What about the tension? Does the movie start with little tension and grow as the story continues (You know, do they make their character climb a tree and then start throwing rocks at them? Or do they just throw the rocks in the tree and forget the main character?)

Writing has the exact same elements:
good beginning,
moving middle,
realistic actions
disaster to make the plot great (because no one remembers the fun happy picnic in a story. They remember the picnic when the ants came and ate all the potato chips, which made Little Tommy run over to shoo them away, but instead he tripped and fell over Great Aunt Edna's famous chocolate fudge cake, *gasping for air to keep reading* thus imposing a trip to the hospital where the huge family fight broke out because no one remembered setting Great Aunt Edna's cake on the ground in the first place...That's what the reader will remember--btw, please don't use run on sentences in your writing. They are so hard to read (I'm totally out of breath now).

Okay there you have it. You can learn a lot from the movies and the movie doesn't even have to even be bad.

So what have you learned from the movies lately that can help out a fellow writer?

40 comments:

Charmaine Clancy said...

I'm amazed by the way movies capture each character's individualism - even if they all look almost the same (like ants and bugs and rabbits etc).

Summer Ross said...

the only problem between movies and writing is the idea of what people look like no longer exists because they give you the actual person

LeishaMaw said...

Love the post. I love watching a good movie before I write. It helps me remember to show and not tell, and it puts me in the mood for a good adventure. :)

Kristina P. said...

I can read between the lines. You're talking about the Miley Cyrus movie, right?

Rachel said...

LOL I totally understand!! I hate holes! But, you HAVE to tell me what movie you saw!! I LOVE a good flick, esp with the kids :) xox

Medeia Sharif said...

I dislike plot holes, so I ask myself if I provided direct or indirect explanations to occurrences.

I also dislike abrupt action, so I ask myself if there's buildup in my wips.

Lola Sharp said...

Yes, writers can learn a lot from watching movies (both good and bad): pacing, rising action, etc.

I wish you'd tell us what the movie was!

Becca said...

Um, movies? Are sometimes more fun than writing. Oops. Was I not supposed to admit that? Ok, well, then - dialog. In a good movie, I can sometimes get dialog envy. And insomuch as I don't watch TV until years after a show is on DVD, let me tell you that great dialog is found on Netflix in the form of Pushing Daisies, Monk, and Psych. You are most welcome.

roxy said...

I haven't gone to a movie recently, but I do love hearing good dialogue. I always think, "I wish I'd thought of that."

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Ha ha ha! It doesn't even matter what your posts are about - I just love to find out what you're going to say next and what crazy way you'll come up with to say it!

You're right - movies and writing are a lot alike. I should pay more attention, huh?! :-)

Candyland said...

I like movies with plot holes. It gives me one more thing to complain about.

KarenG said...

And plot holes are even worse in writing because you don't have Daniel Craig, Tom Cruise or George Clooney to distract you. In novels, they should be called pot holes, because they really interrupt the smooth ride of the reader.

Shelley Sly said...

Hehe, this post made me chuckle. I like well-written movies because they inspire me to improve my writing skills, but I admit I also enjoy finding plot holes in movies. It's kind of satisfying in a weird way. :)

Susan R. Mills said...

You summed it up very nicely. Movies are a great resource for writers.

Patti said...

I'm always fascinated when a book gets made into a movie on what they leave out, what characters are developed, and how the address certain plots.

Invariably a book has more plot and sub plots, but it does make me wonder about my own pacing.

Elana Johnson said...

I've learned a lot from screenwriting and applied it to novel writing. For me, I'm so visual, that I think the movies help a lot. And I must know which film you saw...

Amparo Ortiz said...

Excellent post! I agree 100%--sometimes I learn more from movies than books. I'm also very visual, and scenes tend to stick with me long after the flick is over.

As far as advice, I'm coming up short. You said everything that mattered :)

Sara B. Larson said...

Now you have to tell me what movie it was! I agree, a very well done movie can teach us a lot about writing. Great post!

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

I'm always in awe when I watch a movie on how they capture all the details in the setting and the clothing. In a book we get to make some of that up in our minds (as readers).

Terry Stonecrop said...

Another visual person here. So beautiful scenery really catches my eye. OK that probably includes the actors mentioned by Karen G:)

But also the dialog. Love great dialog, be it in films or a novel!

Now, tell, tell! What was the name of that movie?

Jackee said...

Movies totally help! In fact, in any adventure book I write, I see it glide through scenes just like a movie.

The last movie I saw in the theatres was Inception. THAT movie can sure teach us a lot about maintaining tension. :o)

The thing I hate worst in movies applied to books? Suspending my belief. Sorry, James Bond, you can't jump out of that plane and land on the plane next to it. (Ha, ha.)

ali said...

Yes! I'm actually reading the best, most-helpful book "on writing" that I've ever read. Except it's not about writing novels, it's about writing screenplays. I'm finally getting a lot of things that I've read/heard before, but that visual element, or using movies as examples is really driving the points home.

Solvang Sherrie said...

I just read a great book on writing screenplays that has changed the way I look at writing a novel. It's called Save the Cat! It's brilliant.

lotusgirl said...

I've learned that I can be just as engrossed in simple action as explosive action if I'm properly prepped for it.

Kathryn Magendie said...

One of the coolest seminars I went to at a conference was Alexandra Sokoloff's - she used to be a screenwriter before she wrote horror novels - she does these "seminars" on her blog, too - how she compares writing novels to screenwriting and to movies in the pacing and tone and character and everything - loved it!

I want to see a plot-hole-less movie too! Love those kind :-D

salarsenッ said...

I really watch the openings. I find it so funny how some don't have a freaking thing to do with the story, yet I watch and am fascinated by that.

L.T. Elliot said...

A movie without plot holes? *gasp!* I have to see that one! ;P Well, and you know why else I want to see that movie. *swoon* Just don't tell my hubby. ;)

Excellent post! Now you and I just have to go see a movie together and it will be perfect!

Kathi Oram Peterson said...

I love going to the movies and studying the story. Though, at times, my kids get upset when I tell them what's going to happen. I guess that's a plot hole, or is it? Hmm.

Great post!

Lynn said...

Throwing in the worst possible event that could happen to your character does make a story! Movies are really good for that. Sometimes, though, it's too heart-breaking to write something so horrible happening to my own created characters. But I guess we gotta do it anyways!

Melanie J said...

I'd be delighted to find a movie without plot holes. They're RARE.

Nicole Zoltack said...

There ARE movies without plot holes????

Bethany Mattingly said...

Ha! Thank you! I knew there was a good reason that I LOVE watching movies and then picking them apart afterwards. :) Maybe you should say which movie so I can be sure to stay away from it. It would probably ruin my movie mojo. lol

~Nicole Ducleroir~ said...

I think I learn as much, if not more, from the bad movies as I do from the good ones. Personally, I like to take characterization notes from actors and actresses. The visuals always translate into words as they filter through my writer's mind.

Great post!

Lynda Young said...

They taught me the importance of a great ending. Great endings leave you feeling good and you're more willing to tell people what a great movie it was if it ended well.

Danyelle said...

I totally agree with you. I don't really enjoy watching movies. What I do enjoy is watching them, picking them apart, and using what I've learned to make my writing better. :) Great post!

Jolene Perry said...

I think I learn a lot about pacing in a movie. Wow, this feels like a good place to let the movie roll and take a pee break...
I try to avoid those when I write.

Amanda Sablan said...

Excellent post! And I know, the horror of movies with no plot holes!

Movies make great writer tools because you can learn so much about how to make a character move or what facial expression to give them just by observing the actors.

Ann Best said...

Hi, Carolyn. I'm so glad you found me and posted a comment on my cave trip.

I just read your pages, about you and your current projects. YA is my favorite next to memoir and murder mysteries. When I was younger, probably close to your age, I wrote YA; came close a few times to getting a few stories published in the old Ingenue magazine. I'd like to read your stories. Can I find them somewhere?

Movies. I LOVE movies. If you read an earlier post of mine, you know I grew up on the old Hollywood ones. A few years ago I studied screenplay writing, on my own, and drafted two (and got a professional critique on one) that I keep wanting to come back to. Reading your post here is spurring me on.

What I've learned from the movies: pretty much what you say here, and what Frank McCourt said: a happy childhood isn't worth writing about. You need drama, disaster, tension. And as there are plot points in screenplays, so there should be also in a work of fiction. Beginning, middle, end. Maybe every writer should try to write a screenplay, if only just once.
Ann

Jessica Carmen Bell said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog! :o) Well, movies have helped me get to grips with 'showing'. Especially with dialogue. Have you ever tried to sort of semi-narrate in your head what people are doing and how they're moving when they speak while watching a movie? It's great practice to avoid telling the reader how someone is feeling. :o)

Quinn said...

I love this post!

So, something I've learned that can help ... once you establish rules for your world, stick to them.

I actually wrote a post up about this and the movie that taught me this lesson.

http://seeingdreamingwriting.blogspot.com/2010/07/suspension-of-disbelief.html