02 June 2010

When Writers Break Their Word...

Hey, Friends! Hope you had a great Memorial Day!

Any of y'all catch the LOST finale? I've spent the week in mourning, but not for the original reason I envisioned. I always thought I'd be upset the show ended. Instead, it was a feeling of deep disappointment.

I spent 4 years mesmerized by the show, perhaps a little too obsessed. I scared people by remembering tiny, insignificant details and bringing them up in conversation. Yes, I did. But when it came time to the finale, I didn't care. In fact, a friend and I concluded that the only good part of the entire show was that they didn't kill the dog.

Why?

Because the writers didn't keep their part of the bargain.

From the beginning they said it would all be explained. That it would be an incredible ride. And it was until this last season. They didn't explain enough. The parts they did explain were dumb. After investing so much of my life in the show, I felt cheated.

They broke their word. And now I don't have closure.

We have a contract with our readers. We need to be faithful to the story. We need to keep our word, to fulfill our contract with our readers. If not, we leave them disillusioned.

After all, we don't want our readers to say, "At least we didn't kill the dog."

Ouch.

See y'all Friday!

20 comments:

  1. I never watched LOST, but wow, it seems you're not alone in this thinking. Been hearing about that here and there on the internet. The writers did let people down.

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  2. That thing was built up too much and never could have lived up to it all. How else could they have ended it. There was never a happily ever after coming out of there....

    Sorry for your sadness over it. :O)

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  3. I agree. Novelists should try to tie up or at least explain loose ends. Maybe an author want to leave a cliffhanger for a sequel but whatever they write in the novel should at least finish the plot.

    CD

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  4. I had a friend who said he thought they answered what needed to be answered but leaving some mysteries went along with the theme of the show. I disagree. I think people WANT resolution...to EVERYTHING. Even in a show where the tone is to have constant mystery. I think the writers were probably going for an abstract art kind of tone, where the viewer interprets what he/she wants to interpret, but if I were a fan of the show, I'd want answers.

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  5. You are so right. I don't want my readers to feel jipped (is that how you spell that?) I'm getting ready to end a WIP and I'm so sensitive about how I end it. I want it to complete the work. I want to create for readers that satisfied feeling after a Thanksgiving meal when it's time to lean back and unbutton pants b/c the belly is so full and happy.

    ~ Wendy

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  6. See, I disagree. I loved the show. And I knew from the start that not all my questions would be answered. But I do feel they answered the main ones. And their was emotional closure within the relationships and that was way more important to me that questions about the island. I still had questions, for sure. And I didn't even mind that the emotional closure happened when they were all dead in the sideways world. I still loved it. And would have watched it again.

    But, I don't feel we can do the same things in books. So I agree with you there.

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  7. Hi Kristen -

    The only way I could not feel cheated was if another series picked up those characters. I read a series faithfully and found myself wondering what happened to certain characters. The author abandoned them. I've only picked up stand-alone titles by this author since that time.

    It's a lesson to remember when writing my own books.

    Blessings,
    Susan :)

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  8. I think I'm one of the few people who actually really like the end of Lost, but I undersand what you mean.

    As for books, I changed my ending to my book to give it more closure even though I see it as a series.

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  9. I skipped two years of lost but then watched the final show to understand. I didn't really get it all--some of it. Too funny about the dog but you're right--they kept it alive!

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  10. Hey, Friends...

    Thanks for all of your input and opinions... Obviously, my take on LOST's finale was subjective to me. For those of you who loved it, I'm happy for you!

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  11. What I think is amazing is the impact that story has had, both positive and negative on so many of us. I hope my readers will be thinking about my words for a long time to come in a positive way, but I think any story that can generate such strong emotion is worth paying attention to.

    That said, I know exactly what you mean. I hated The Secret Life of Pi because I felt like the author took the easy way out in the same way third grade writers often do. Great discussion here.

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  12. So true, Kristen. We have to carefully wrap up loose threads in our story in a way that is believable and doesn't seem contrived or forced for our readers. That's not always easy to do!

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  13. Have Hollywood writers ever kept their word?

    In spite of your disappointment, you allowed the Lord to teach you a valuable lesson from these people. Good for you!

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  14. I'm very, very, VERY careful about my endings. I love writing "to be continueds" but I try to wrap up as much as I can in the story that is presented. There's nothing wrong with carrying over unknowns and mysteries if you have something to carry it on to. When I reach the end of this series, I want to make sure (double, triple sure) I've answered everything that needs answering. A little mystery at the end is fine. But not the big questions. They needs answers.

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  15. I've never seen LOST, but you make a very powerful and important point for us as writers. And you're right! :-)

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  16. I stopped watching it after season two. I felt the writers were getting over-the-top and desperate. Too bad, because it was a great show.

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  17. sometimes I find the endings of books leave me like Lost left you...left hanging....and then the whole book is meaningless..I need that great ending. I need the closure. And the endings are also what I struggle with...Have a great week Kristen.

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  18. Agreed. I'm not always a fan of tying everything up into a neat little bundle at the end ... but if the promise of that neat little bundle is the premise of the work, then it's certainly part of that reader-writer contract!

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  19. After hearing your response to the season finale, I'm glad I never started watching the series! Glad to hear that you plan on being faithful to your story! Way to go!! See you tomorrow! God bless! :)

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  20. OOOOHHHHHH! I love your brazen honesty. And you are correct my friend. We need to tie up loose ends lest we shall be run out of the country or black listed. ;) BTW, the last episode is STILL sitting on my DVR unwatched. *sigh* Time is not on my side.

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