Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A Good Book Has To Be A Complete Package

With the schedule I live with my family, having time to sit down and watch movies is a rare privilege. In other words, I rarely get a chance to do so. When there is peace and quiet, I am often too tired to even keep my eyes open through the opening title sequence. In any case, I actually had the chance to watch a movie recently and saw a lot of great connections to publishing.

I watched Salmon Fishing In Yemen and thought there was a lot to be said about it. There were a lot of great scenes in the movie. Emily Blunt and Ewan McGregor were great together. Kristin Scott Thomas was a riot. My wife thought the Sheik was "HOT!" But....

I realized that in the end, what I liked about the show were all of the individual elements. As a complete package, I found that there were a lot of things lacking. Again, don't get me wrong here. I really did like this, but the issue stemmed from the fact that there were far too many storylines in the movie that were all moving at different rates and, at times in completely different directions. In terms of a complete package, it simply wasn't there for me.

For far too many authors, I find their stories have this same problem. They have taken the time to find some great characters. Those characters, at various times throughout the book have some great scenes with each other. The author may have also created some great lines that are worth telling your best friend about. But that connection that ties it all together is simply lacking.

I do believe that a lot of this stems from a lack of planning on the part of the writer. There were some great ideas they started out with, but as they wrote, the felt the story needed "something more." In stead of adding the depth to the already existing storyline, they added "more storylines".

Let me explain with a common storyline I have seen lately in women's fiction. Married woman, kids, dog and husband but hitting mid-life crisis. This alone is a great premise to show how a person can get over this tough hurdle. But, the author, who seems to think the story will go no where with this basic line now adds in:
  • woman falling for the lawn mowing neighbor
  • husband has to now have an affair
  • she finds out she is pregnant
  • she discovers one of the kids doing drugs
  • throw in a terminal disease for the gold fish
...you get the idea.

The idea is that EVERYTHING in the story has to go together and not tied together with a small little thread. Your opening scene can be great, but does it continue throughout the entire story? You may have a great hero, but does he work with everyone else. Your chapter erotic sex scenes can be great but do these connect with the real storyline?

Think complete package here!


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