Okay, usually for WW, I tend to go on and on and pontificate about stuff I know, or stuff I’ve learned in the years of writing that I’ve done. Stuff I think about when I think “good story.” This week, I’mma do a little different and talk about something I’m not sure of. Time.
Why is it that some stories catch me up so well that I either don’t think of the passage of time until after I’m done, or I never think of it at all? Other stories, that are still gripping reads with great characters and the elements of a ripping yarn, I read them, completely absorbed, but all the while I think, “wow, this is happening really fast.” With a good story, I’ll find myself justifying–making excuses for the characters to be so caught up in the moment that yes, I believe the adaptability they’ve shown given this justification I’ve developed in my mind.
It happens a lot with lovers. Although so very many years of reading romance has led me to understand that it’s part of the genre and part of the fantasy to get swept up–that’s part of the fun. Plus, a skilled romance writer knows how to deftly set things up so that while the courtship may be on fast-forward, the bones of a good, solid, lasting long-term relationship are still there. Once the sudden rush dies down, the characters will be left with enough compatibility to take them forward past the honeymoon phase.
Another place it happens is in paranormal or extraordinary situations. I tend to think that if I were caught up in the same situations, I’d take it in stride because I read so much, play video games, and have been tabletop RPGing for too many years to count and have had more than one occasion where a mad dwarf drops out of a time rift set right about eye level and sets off a series of even weirder events so…I’ve had rehearsals for becoming a weirdness magnet. I like to think I wouldn’t spend three days in gibbering denial of the sudden onset of heat-vision. I like to think I’d be out there, eyeball-barbecuing with the neighbors in short order.
But people like me aren’t the characters in books. Heat-vision happens to people who *don’t* want it, who don’t read comic books or play D&D or make up stories about strange worlds they actually wouldn’t mind living in. Because it’s not as much fun to read about if the character’s expecting it. As readers, we like to think we’re one-up on those poor sots in the book or in the movie. After all, we’ve got the wide camera angles that see the bushes, we can hear the slasher’s theme music, and we–unlike them–know all the rules.
Also, I really wanted to call this post “Let’s Do the Time Warp Again” but when I went to look on youtube for movie clips, nothing was high quality enough to show. But I did get lost in some fond, fond memories of midnight showings of Rocky Horror.