Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Dragon Wasn't Real?

Once upon a time, there was a beautiful princess. This princess lived alone in a tower, far far away. The tower was guarded by a large dangerous dragon. One day a handsome young prince was riding along and encountered the dragon. Noticing that the dragon was guarding something, the prince decided to fight off the dragon and claim its prize. Little did the prince know what he was in store for...



The prince dashed in with his sword blazing and swung with all his might. Only after the prince had ran through the cardboard cutout of the dragon, did he realize that he had been duped. It was a fake. PROCEED TO DISAPPOINTED READER FACE

Do you ever notice when books tend to do this. They throw in scenes at the end of a chapter that get you all pumped up, ready to read on, only to break out the dreaded "false alarm," card. To me, it's a cheating way to write. Yeah, it gets the reader to bypass their brain's recommendation to put the book down and go to bed (after all, it is 4am and you have to get up in 2 hours) but then what, you read on and the author completely closes down that climactic moment by avoiding the conflict and simply saying "never mind everybody, it's's ok."

Does anyone know of any SPECIFIC moments like this in any books you've read recently? Does it give you faith that the author will know how to tie up the ultimate climax of their book?


Bane of Anubis said...

Ooh, I can't think of any, but that would really torque my jaw. I think the inverse of this (on the large, overall book scale) is why I love Ender's Game.

David J. West said...

The old it was all a dream. Sigh...lame.

I'm not thinking of anything absolutely specific but it seems like Dan Brown does it a lot.

I like to end chapters on a cliffhanger whether its danger or something revealed but I sure hope its never a tease.

I'd like to think if I leave a chapter hanging murderous when you get back to that particular scene someone in peril is still in peril for real and its not a Scooby Doo answer.

George RR Martin is great at teasing but its real-as in you come back to that secene and chapter and the person in peril may very well die-great cliffhangers.

Sorry I can't think of the authors to avoid better-I usually try to forget them.

Stephanie Thornton said...

Ugh. That's one of the worst things to read and movies do it too. I can't think of any off the top of my head although I know The Tudors had a goofy dream sequence in it during Season 1 or 2. I hate that.

Charles Gramlich said...

I like cliffhangers, but only if they're done right. I've seen a fair amount of this kind of thing in thrillers, where the cliffhanger is really a false one. The old Saturday matinee serials used to do this all the time though. It is lazy writing but it's part of the process going on in literature where everyone is catering to shrinking attention spans and the conflict for attention among many sources of entertainment.

Anonymous said...

Interestingly, I just read a book like that. All the way through the mini climaxes fell flat. You can imagine the frustration when the ending was no different.

I was very dissapointed because this is an author I have always loved to read and never thought her books were "oh, just a dream" or other inane ways to get out of falling off the real cliff.

It almost turns me off to her altogether, though I will give her one more shot with her next book just in case that last one was a mistake. A hiccup if you will!

Voidwalker said...

Bane: I'm going to google ender's game now to see what it's about.

David: Yeah, the "it was all a dream" thing is pretty well played out. Glad to know you aren't writing like that :)

Steph: I agree, I HATE it. I'm making sure I avoid that kind of writing so I don't disappoint.

Charles: I think you nailed it with the "Lazy writing." I think writers must be running out of creative juice to stoop to that level and just avoid a closer to a good cliffhanger like that.

Cat: Which book? Should we avoid it?

Diana Paz said...

Oh I haven't gotten one of those in a while but the times I have made me SO mad! I agree with David, they were usually the "it was all a dream" variety. Blech.

Happy New Year Void, I wish you and your family and your bride-to-be every success and happiness )

Ash. Elizabeth said...

I totally agree that it's a cheating way to write. oh, and check out my blog because I have an award for you.

J.J. Bennett said...

I see what you're saying. I like it when it leaves you thinking personally... It makes you have "buy in" as a reader. The other way..."The bait and switch" just makes a reader not trust you. Just my take on it...

Taylor Taylor said...

Ender's Game is a must read. It does the exact opposite of the "problem" some of these other books have.