While at my critique group on Saturday, we got into a discussion about readers attention spans and how the industry believes that everyone's is short now a days. I beg to differ. I agree that most of that argument started with writing young adult books (YA), but I still believe that people, no matter what their age, like detail, and most of all, like a good build up.
I have read several new books lately, and the ones that held my interest were the ones who left you with anticipation, and falling in love with the richness of the characters. It did not matter if the book was written by a new author or someone with quite a few novels under their belt, the ones that kept me reading were the ones that built up the story, then taking you into the climax, wanting it to not end.
I cannot understand why publishers want you to cut out half of the build up so that you can cut to the chase, to the whole purpose of the story...well the end of it as far as I'm concerned. Even some movies today have left me feeling unsatisfied and with no emotion.
My examples that prove the industry wrong are good ones, ones that you will have you stop and think, 'yeah, those were the best and still are'.
Harry Potter, could you imagine these books without the wonderful detail that J.K. Rollings wrote? How about the newest hot books, Game of Thrones? George R. R. Martin gave us so much detail and brought to life how many characters?! You fall in love with his characters, good or evil.
Wait, there's more...Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Alien, Angels and Demons, The DaVinci Code, just to name a few. The novels that ended up becoming popular movies and we just can't seem to get enough of, those are the ones that you run to the store or order a head of time on Amazon so that you can dive back into these worlds and enjoy the ride.
I understand about tightening the writing, to take out unnecessary words and long sentences, but to cut out scenes so that you can go straight to action is not only wrong, but takes out the very heart and soul of the story. I mean don't you want a good roller coaster ride in the story? Don't you want to experience what the character is going through and feel the richness of the story? Don't you love it when a book grabs you and you have a hard time putting it down because you just have to read one more chapter? I do.
So my argument is don't take away from your story because someone tells you it should be all action. There needs to be a build up, and something happens, then that is solved. Then do it again, until the final climax that is stretched out a little longer until the reader can't stand it any longer. Tease them, make it where they come back for more. That to me is good writing and reading, and even movie making. Not, just action, but detail, richness, description, and above all, ringing true. Where you can put yourself there, actually in the story and feel what the character is experiencing and then you have your sympathy for that character, good or evil.
What are your thoughts on this? Have you gone to a new movie lately and been disappointed? Especially one that depicts a series you've read, such as the Hunger Games, or Twilight? Even one's that weren't books. Are you left feeling empty and wondering what the director was thinking? Or even picked up a book and a few chapters in, you are confused by too many characters, or not enough detail so that you know what is happening?
Drop me a line and let me in on your thoughts. I think it's time for the industry to come back to good stories and not ruin them with the thought that people can't sit that long in a movie or won't read that long of a book. I have plenty of examples to prove them wrong.