Friday, January 29, 2010

Screenwriting tricks we hate...Version 2.0 - OVERHEARING

Screenwriting tricks we hate: the lazy reveal

Dick had sex with Jane’s sister.

Jane has no idea. She and Dick gonna get married in 2 weeks.

3 days before the wedding Jane is doing the dishes when she happens to overhear Dick and her sister talking about the fated intercourse outside the kitchen window.

Complications ensue.

We’ve been meaning to write about this for a while.  It drives us crazy, and we were reminded about it whilst watching the gripping new Lifetime masterpiece, “The Pregnancy Pact”.  A huge reveal occurs accidentally when boyfriend essentially overhears the big secret.

Reasons this sucks: It’s lazy.  A lot of writers allow their hero to stumble into this kind of information.  But can’t you get your protagonist to find this out another way? Make your hero constantly in pursuit of the truth, constantly put your hero face to face with the conflict, and your hero won’t have to stumble onto major plot points.  They will create plot points. Your story will move better. And people will like your hero even more.

Really.  When’s the last time you OVERHEARD something that completely changed your life story?

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