I went to the movies this weekend. To the drive-in, actually. We’re lucky enough to have five within a reasonable driving distance from my house. I even got the idea for my first published m/m story while at the drive-in a few years ago. But that’s another story.
This story is about the movies.
I have a healthy, active and well-nurtured suspension of disbelief. I live for fiction. I love action, science fiction, horror and the genre often requiring greatest suspension of disbelief—romance. But as I watched a completely improbable action scene in the first movie at the drive-in, I couldn’t help complaining. Out loud, but hey, drive-in, remember? I was in my car, bothering no one but my own improbable partner in romance. My complaint? “Just look at that. Screenwriters can get away with anything. They never have to explain.”
Story-tellers who write books suffer a disadvantage. Readers won’t just take our word for it, no matter how deeply we immerse them in our world. Nothing just happens. As novelists, we have to explain things, show not only what but why and how. Deus ex machinas, like a miraculous hand of water lifting the protagonists to safety, will not be tolerated in today’s fiction. Obviously all movies don’t strain credulity to that point, and the second feature at the drive-in was a vast improvement, but the writers still got away with brushing off explanations.
And as much as I whine (never aloud if I’m in the theater), as much as I want to pull the mommy card and answer “Because I said so” when a critique partner says “But why?” I wouldn’t want things any other way. I like the challenge; I want to be accountable to readers.
Don’t believe me? Too bad. This isn’t fiction so I don’t owe you a why. Does that make me ready for the movies?