Writerly Things 11/25/19: Realistic Expectations
How realistic do you expect your movies and stories to be?
Hit by a Car.
Fatal? Depends on the speed. I remember one lady that got hit by a car in the parking lot at work and still had to finish her day at work. Granted, the vehicle was going 10 to 15 but yeah. However, recent movies we’ve watched have seen the hero hit by not one but TWO cars at an alarming speed and he GOT UP and limped away.
Head Hit by a Huge Object or Slammed into Something.
Again, both of these movies, clearly these actions would’ve killed the heroes outright, but did they? A big fat no. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not rooting for the hero to die. Who does that? Except maybe the Joker. It’s just that, come on, show a little reality, movie folks.
Unless You’re Immortal, You’re Going to Hurt.
How often does the hero rush into the next scene, seemingly forgetting that they’ve been shot, stabbed, in the path of an explosion? I know all these people are not immortals, and even then, they’re should still be some mega pain. Even the Terminator got diverted from his path a time or two when hit by a truck or dynamite.
I Think of the Two, Books are the More Realistic.
We know our readers would have our heads if we got it wrong. The hero getting shot in a vital area and still being able to fight on. Of course, it’s happened to soldiers on the field but even they are hard-pressed to continue their battle. However, in Dean Koontz’ Jane Hawk novels, there were oftentimes when I found myself disbelieving the situations she was in and her rising above it. Not because she’s a woman but because THREE gorillas pumped with drugs and trained to kill humans just is too much to ask more than an army to stop in their tracks. I’m not saying she had an easy fight but nope, still shaking my head.
I’m sorry but in a huge snowstorm, even the plows have trouble getting through the roads. That’s why there are winter weather advisories. A station wagon loaded with four people, two dogs, and suitcases is NOT going to be able to outrun the bad guys when they can’t even see two feet in front of the car. And on tires that needed to be updated for winter, no less. The creatures would have overrun the car for sure.
A Breakdown Nobody Saw Coming.
Yeah, this is a reference to Game of Thrones. Not foreshadowing Daenerys mental state enough that all of fandom cried out at her horrifying final turn to defeat Cersei. Yes, there were small hints given here and there but apparently not enough that fans got the memo. Geoffrey, of course, was easy to spot for his insanity but a break like Daenerys had in the final descent of her dragon on the city? More build-up might have helped.
On the other hand, Walking Dead got it right when Negan attacked the group. Why? Nobody expected Rick NOT to win. He always had. Eventually. This time though, too much was lost. The utter horror of it all caused me to stop watching the show. It was too much for me to witness and dream about especially with an abusive past. I do admit, like I said though, that this show got it right with the violence and swift attack. It was too brutal not to be realistic.
Try and be as Realistic as You Can Within Reason.
I know we all want to make scenes exciting. Impossible to believe the hero will win the day. Given the proper tools they should be able to do so. But if they’ve been chained and thrown underwater in a vault? Even David Copperfield would have a hard time with that magic trick.
Just be careful. Think about what you’re doing. Unless your hero is an alien that can’t be killed or maimed or regenerates, give them wounds they can recover from. Situations to deal with that COULD happen.
One of the reasons readers or movie goers like to watch their favorite heroes are to watch them overcome the odds. Again, given the proper tools they should do so. Just keep it in the realm of believe.