Wednesday, March 12, 2014

We Get It, Already ...

The other night, I watched "While You Were Sleeping" on Netflix streaming. I've seen it once before, when it first came out, and I enjoyed seeing it again. My favorite part was watching Bill Pullman's eyes when he looked at Sandra Bullock. Or rather, Jack when he looked at Lucy. His eyes got all squishy soft and you could tell that he just adored her. That, to me, is real romance.

But I digress ... that's not the point of this blog post.

This is the point.

The movie comes to a conclusion, with everyone having their happily ever after. Lucy does a voiceover telling how things ended up, and how she finally got to go to Florence on her honeymoon.

Then she finishes up by saying, "Peter once asked me when I fell in love with Jack. I said, 'It was while you were sleeping.'"

You may be wondering why this bothered me.

I will tell you.

This was the screenwriter's deliberate attempt to make the title fit the movie. And it wasn't needed. Not even in the slightest. We already figured out that the fact that Peter was in a coma (hence "sleeping") and that things took place in the meantime (hence "while you were") gave us the title "While You Were Sleeping." (We are rocket scientists, you know.) It felt like the screenwriter was going, "Hey, did you catch that? Did you notice it? How cool, huh?"

The other problem is that Peter never would have asked Lucy that question.

1. Jack and Lucy don't know each other.
2. Peter goes into a coma.
3. Jack and Lucy meet and fall in love.
4. Peter wakes up from a coma.

Therefore, of course they fell in love while he was sleeping because there was no other possible time for it to have occurred. This reinforces my supposition that the screenwriter did not need to tack on that last sentence to the monologue.

And now you're wondering what that has to do with the price of tea in China.

When you're writing a book, it's not necessary to wave flags in your readers' faces to make them realize stuff. In fact, I blogged about this very thing not too long ago - read it here. In that post, I was talking about how silly it is to make sure your readers get all your jokes. In this post, my point is that it's silly to make sure they get all your casual references. They're not idiots.

Send your story past some betas, and if they don't get it, then change it. But don't stand on your head to point it out. As with all the aspects of your writing, the more natural, the better.


Pam Williams said...

Thank you for the validity, Yes, writers need to give readers CREDIT--after all, if they were idiots they wouldn't be reading my brilliantly executed book, would they.

Donna K. Weaver said...

Tell that to my editor. ;)

Terrie Lynn said...

I am reading an old Mildred Wirt book (She wrote some of the Nancy Drew books and other series.) She had her sleuth find a key on the ground and after contemplation, decided it was either dropped there or put there. No kidding!

Tristi Pinkston said...

Send your editor over to the blog, Donna! :)

I think the key materialized there, Terrie. :)

This is so true, Pam!