The other day I went to go see a movie with friend A, we’ll call her Rose, and friend B, who we’ll call Jeremiah (the names have been changed to protect the innocent).
After around two hours in the dark, cold theater, we waltzed out into the sun and began chattering about what we’d just experienced.
“The main character was so hot,” gushed Rose.
“And the graphics were badass,” said Jeremiah.
Then both of them turned to me.
Now, I don’t see movies with Rose and Jeremiah very often, so they were unaware of the fact that most of my close non-writer friends have stopped asking me what I think about movies or TV shows, for fear I’ll go all “crazed writer” on them.
Rose and Jeremiah’s expressions quickly transitioned from curious to stunned deer-in-the-headlights as I dove into my explanation about how I thought the plot could have been different, how I felt the characters needed more development in their relationship before X, Y, and Z happened, how character N had inconsistencies, or how the dialogue in scene 39 was rushed.
It’s not that I try to over-analyze plots and characters, it’s that once you look at things from a writer’s perspective, it’s kind of hard to just… turn it off.
It’s not like a light switch, people! It’s like a raging, consuming fire!
Even if I’m watching or reading something and fully enjoying it, I’ll generally still pull apart the plot in my head and/or try and figure out where the writer (or writers) slipped in certain elements of the story; foreshadowing, character development, etc. I learn a lot from studying the flow of other stories, both what to do and what not to do when it comes to my own writing.
The whole “can’t turn it off” thing can work in our favor, fellow writers (just don’t go around scaring friends – I speak from experience).
You know how they say, “you’re seeing something through rose-colored glasses”?
It’s a similar ailment, except we’re looking at things through writer glasses… forever.
We’re not trying to annoy you, beautiful non-writer souls, we’re just diseased.
Diseased with the curse, blessing, and absolute need to write.
Sorry we pick apart your movies, books, and TV shows.
I’ve written 45k for my NaNoWriMo project over the last 7 days, so I apologize if I missed something during edits. My brain is high on words and low on editing power.
I’m going to go find more caffeine.