We watched a movie the other day that wasn’t very good. Like I have said here many times, movies, comics, games, or other works of art that aren’t particularly good don’t bother me that much. It’s not the worst crime in the world to create something that isn’t very good. Personally, I happen to enjoy a lot of stuff that sits right on the axis of mediocre and weird. I have actively sought out poorly produced, cheaply made things that match my particular interests. There is an honesty to presenting something and saying “well this is the best we could do with what we had. I hope you like it” . Those are the sorts of things that look they they were probably fun to make.
That said, I still can’t help but analyze narrative works that fall short. Were there one or two scenes or moments that could have made me care about what is going on here. Was there a particular twist that wasn’t adequate sold to the audience before it happens. In short, if a creator wants me to care about what is happening in the story, did they earn it.
Watching a movie or reading a book that doesn’t hit always makes me think about my writing or my own art. Mostly I think, that feeling I’m trying to evoke, or that reaction I’m trying to elicit, did I earn that. Even if the feeling I’m going for is “this is the best I could do”, is it earned.
That is what is going through my head most of the time while I move this story from outline/draft stage to draft/edit stage. Unfortunately I usually end up realizing, no, no it doesn’t earn what I’m going for. The only way to fix that is to type some more, fill in the blanks. Develop the characters and the setting. You know - write.
Pretty soon I will have to take a bunch of this collected work and post it up, you know when it’s not a swiss cheese collection of disconnected scenes. Also I will have to specifically inflict it on other people for feedback so that I can ask them if the setups read as genuine and the payoffs are earned.