Saturday, November 30, 2013

Play the Critic Game!

As some of you have guessed by now, one of my favorite posts is "Why Is That So Good?" I take a favorite scene - usually in a book, but occasionally from a movie, play, what have you - and try to understand exactly why it sticks in my mind.

But here's the good news - I'M NOT THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN DO THIS. In fact, I invite you all to try it yourselves. Here's how:

  • Sit down and close your eyes. (This is optional, but it can help.)
  • Think of your favorite scene - the one whose lines you keep repeating; the one you can hear or see in your mind.
  • Ask yourself, seriously - "Why is that so good?" 
    • Is it something in the scene itself? Maybe it's contextual - the scene is the culmination of an arc in the story, or a running gag. ("Looks like I picked the wrong week to give up sniffing glue!")
    • Maybe it's about character. Remember Lawrence of Arabia, with Anthony Quinn shouting "But I am poor, because I am a river to my people!"
    • Maybe it's entirely about the writing. ("But look around you. Death and Light are everywhere, and they begin, end, strive, attend, into and upon the dream of the Nameless that is the world, burning words within Samsara, perhaps to create a thing of beauty...")
    • Maybe it's a twist, or a red herring.
    • Maybe it's planting and payoff.
    • Maybe - most likely - it's none of these but something entirely different.
Whatever it is, YOU get to decide. Think about it. Figure it out. And then drop me a line and let me know!

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