Yes, I’m being lazy today.
I’ve spent the whole day sitting on the couch reading Preacher. All of t–well, actually I’m taking a breather now, between volumes seven and eight, because I know it’s Monday and I need to blog. So that’s what I’m doing, but I admit I’m glancing repeatedly at the arm of the couch, where Volume 8 waits for me.
The thing about Preacher is, it’s an amazing story. It’s a hugely long story–I believe it ran 70 issues? Does anyone remember–I’m sure my husband would but he’s in transit and I don’t feel like calling him. I remember it was supposed to be 75 but seem to recall it fell a few short. And to be honest, there’s a whole section of the story in there I could have done without, where the MC becomes a sheriff, because it’s essentially dull and doesn’t move the story forward at all.
But in essence, Preacher is a hell of a read, based in large part on a compelling premise–man finds out God quit, goes on worldwide journey to confront him–and on the fact that the craziest shit in the world keeps happening. One insane, over-the-top character ends up in one insane, over-the-top situation after another, and you can’t wait to see what will happen next (another reason why the small-town sheriff bit disappointed me so).
I think it’s hard sometimes, when writing, to remember that you can make up any crazy shit you want. The story doesn’t have to follow the rules. People don’t have to be just like people you meet everyday, they can and should be larger-than-life–at least some of them. Coincidence can happen, it happens in real life often enough.
We know we have to keep increasing tension. Start the tension high, keep setting it higher. But we’re reminded so much about pacing and rules and showing not telling–important lessons, all, yes–that I think sometimes we forget that in a story, anything can happen. Today we pick on the deus ex machina, but to the Greeks, this was crazy! The Gods stepped into the real lives of man, woo-hoo! (And the Greeks lived much closer to their Gods, as well.)
I think it’s easy to become so scared of being seen as someone who’s making things up that we forget the reader wants to be amazed, the reader wants to be entertained. It’s called willing suspension of disbelief, and we should use that willingness as often as we can. We should always, always wonder what the craziest possible thing to happen could be–and then do it, and keep piling it on.
What story twists caught you out of the blue? What do you remember reading and thinking, “Wow!”