Thursday, 31 May 2012

Things I've learned this week

I've learned two or three very different things this week. One is a reinforcement of a pet hate of mine, which is when authors kill minor characters (star trek style) and expect us to care about them. It's actually part of a much larger collection of writing irritations that all work around the same idea though. Killing characters is only one part of it. Another is what I'm told they call a 'pat the dog' moment in scriptwriting, where a writer suddenly needs to make you care about a character and they haven't done anything to set it up, so they have them do or say something saccharine to tell us that they're someone we 'should' care about. There's also the part where they have minor characters do bad things because they're afraid to have major ones take the consequences. They're all symptoms of the same kind of problem to me.

Then I've also learned that often you don't realise when you're getting better at things. That's true of writing, but of a lot of other things too. I found this out after doing BJJ for a year or so and regularly getting smashed by other players, only to go into my local judo club earlier this week and find that I could do rather well on the ground. Of course, the opposite also applies, and you can get worse without noticing too. I think that until you actually test what you're doing outside your normal situation, you don't get that kind of feel for it.

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