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Status: Drafting the fourth book in the PERILOUS series!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

That Couldn't Happen!



I saw a movie the other day where the girl posted a live video feed of herself online, and her whole school, the local pastor, her parents, and the town mayor all stopped, sat in front of their computers/ipads/whatevers and watched this video.

Come on, folks. That's not gonna happen.

My husband saw a movie the other day where a soldier sat down on the battlefield, pulled out a notebook, and started writing. He had an idea that couldn't wait, and he ignored the shrapnel, bullets, and grenades exploding around him because he couldn't jump back two feet into the trenches and write down his idea.

Uh-uh. Not very realistic.

But it's movies, right? Who cares? We know it's not real. We don't care. We want to be entertained. As long as it's semi-real, it's okay.

When I was a little girl I read a book about a girl and a boy who went on a school trip and got separated from the leaders. They ended up stuck out in the wilderness for several days before they were found.

Yeah, probably not. But great story! Just a Little Bit Lost. How did this book end up in obscurity?

A few months ago I read a book where a woman woke up to find a man under her Christmas tree. I giggled my way through this light-hearted romance.

This very cute, FAR-FETCHED romance. But still, it's fun!

But is it for everyone?

It seems to me that when something unrealistic happens in a movie, we shrug it off and keep watching, enjoying the movie (unless it was really really bad). But in a book, we throw the book down, scream foul, and  refuse to embed ourselves in the story again.

So, the question is, is it easier to suspend disbelief for a movie than it is for a book? What do you think?

The clencher for me is, I have to be able to believe it could happen. It might not be likely, it might not be normal, but I have to believe it's a possibility. Well, I don't know. I really enjoyed the man-under-the-Christmas-Tree story.

15 comments:

Elle Strauss said...

I think you make an interesting point here. Most of us probably are willing to suspend disbelief to a greater degree with movies than with books. Not sure why. Maybe because we have to devote more time to read a book and we know that the movie will only "rob" us of two hours.

Jen Daiker said...

I think you're on to something. It's never dawned on me that when I watch a film I can handle the disbelief and continue watching it. However I suppose it depends on how the story is told (when reading) if it's told well then I am more apt to keep reading and not judge so quickly. However if I am not connecting with the author my chances of continuing to read are out numbered.

A lot of people look at the directors, pick their favorite, no matter how unrealistic and stick with it.

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

@Elle--that might be it. Reading has a way of putting ourselves in the story, while with movies we are just observers.

@Jen--I just can't believe how many people really like some movies that I think are quite lacking in any sense of realism (within the given sphere of plot, of course).

Elisa said...

I think it depends on the genre. If it is an action flick, you already know there are going to be ridiculous stunts and impossible jumps with minimal injuries. So when they happen, you say aloud (at least WE do) "yeah right" but keep watching anyway. but if in a serious drama something like that occurs, you might continue watching the flick but give it only a few stars for unbelievability. Same with books for me. If I'm reading a 'modern fairy tale' or a book with magic, special powers, or whatever... I'm not going to be put out by talking animals. However, if a book is SUPPOSED to be REAL life, and I find it unrealistic, it bugs me. Not enough to make be stop reading, but certainly enough to make me give it a critical review. By FAR the worst, however, is not unrealistic PLOT devices, but inconsistencies in character. If a person does something entirely outside their character to that point-- I might really get fed up and stop reading. Even if I read to the end, I will be continually BUGGED by that unrealistic action or decision and it will taint my opinion of the book eternally. I hate it when characters do something just to make conflict in the story when THEY WOULDN'T HAVE DONE THAT.

Stephanie Faris said...

What about the entire Home Alone series? By the time they lost the kid in New York in Home Alone 2, somebody would've been calling the authorities on those parents!

Melissa J. Cunningham said...

I find that I like a story with humor, wit, and action. If I get bored, that's when I put it down. Sometimes I may roll my eyes at believability, but if you keep me hooked, I'll keep reading.

Saumya said...

That is so true. I think the genre depends a lot but for the most part, I do feel that movies are more forgiven than books. I'll let a coincidence go either way if the story is charming enough.

Joanna St. James said...

its easier to put a book down than to get up and find the remote. but i belong to that minority that finishes all the books I pick up good or bad

Jennifer Hillier said...

You know, I'm probably more likely to suspend my disbelief with movies than with books... which is sort of not fair. Maybe it's because I get easily suckered in by visuals (I always want to order everything I see in infomercials!)

Ellen Brickley said...

I'm definitely more willing to suspend disbelief in a movie than a book - I think for me, it's because movies are about spectacle and impact while books aren't. So I expect films to take some liberties that I won't forgive in books.

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

I think all of you are right. It's definitely a trend to be more accepting of a movie than a book. I find this quite interesting!

Lynn said...

In a book I tend to connect with the characters at a deeper level, than within a movie. So,am much more dissappointed if a MC acts unrealistically in a written story then in a movie where I don't connect as deeply.

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

That makes a lot of sense, Lynn. But even in a movie, I think the MC acting wrong really makes the movie a turn off. That's something even movie writers/directors can get right!

Trisha said...

I like your picture in here - I only just saw "Mission: Impossible" the other night for the first time. hehe

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

@Trisha--yeah. Mission Impossible. So realistic, right?

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