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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Why should I care?


I just watched a movie that should have been amazing but it just wasn’t. This is what it had going for it:
  • Period drama
  • Death
  • Vengeance
  • Romeo and Juliet-esk family troubles
  • Gorgeous actors
  • Scheming
  • War
  • Lies
  • LOVE

Sounds great right? So what went wrong? The story failed to make me connect with the characters. I could tell that they tried, but here is where the story failed.

Hot is not connection: Sometimes I think writers believe if someone is good looking everyone will like them. This isn’t true. I may melt a little, but unless you give me something more I just won’t care.

Little to no background: I knew NOTHING about the heroine in this story—and neither did the hero. When he confesses his undying love for her, I kept exepexting her to ask him, “But, why do you love me?” Because she was pretty? Boring!

Conflict doesn’t make me care: It sounds so cold hearted, but it’s true—conflict is only interesting if I’m interested in the people who are stuck in the conflict. You can’t throw people into a civil war and call it good.

Too many characters: This movie kept adding in more and more characters that I was supposed to care about. This problem is that with each new addition, time is taken away from the others and I just end up with a whole group of boring people.

I want to care about the characters. I want to cry with them. I want to bleed with them. I want them to win.

What about you? What keeps you from connecting with characters?

-Angie


Side Note: The talented Chantele Sedgwick interviewed me on her blog today. I think I may have made a fool of myself. Come check it out and laugh at me :)

24 comments:

Jill Campbell said...

I think Hollywood makes lots of those movies. They characters are plastic. Flawed characters, especially if they have some of my flaws, make them more endearing.

Cassie Mae said...

I with you. Hot does not equal interesting to me. I actually like when there is a love interest that detracts from the normal 'blonde hair, blue eyes, broody, and of course knock out body' because when I read that, I picture the same dang guy every time!

In the Dark Powers series, The Boy isn't those things at all. He's greasy, smelly, pimply...but I fell in love with him because the MC saw past it all. I start to care when I believe the character could be real, and not some hollywood actor showing up in a small town high school. :)

Tara Tyler said...

what movie?!
chantele just joined our nanorevmo =)

Brenda Drake said...

I feel most connected when I know the characters first before they are thrown into the event that propels them into a frantic quest to solve whatever obstacle the author has laid out for them. Then I want to learn something more about them in how they handle each situation. I hope that makes sense - LOL - great post! <3

Melissa Sarno said...

I'm curious what movie this is... I like what you say about conflict. No use having it if you don't care about the people in the conflict.

Kelley said...

I just critiqued a manuscript. The concept was brilliant but after I got through the first chapter I sent it back to her saying, 'Why should I care?'

Now, before people think I'm a little b****...I told her that I loved the characters she was creating but it wasn't till the start of the second chapter that she told me why I should care about their story.

When she switched things around and established why I should care right off the bat...goosebumps :)

Brinda said...

Now I'll be wondering all day which movie we are discussing. I agree with all you've said.

Chantele Sedgwick said...

I watched a movie similar to that a few weeks ago. I kept telling my hubby "Why in the world did the MC fall in love with that girl? They've only talked like twice." He just laughed and told me not to analyze everything. *guilty* Can't help it...
And I'll never be watching that movie again. Even if the MC was pretty hot. ;)

Jenny S. Morris said...

I totally want to know what movie your talking about. I completly agree. If I don't care about the people, I don't care.

Off to see you make a fool of yourself. (I'm sure you didn't)

Donna K. Weaver said...

I totally agree with so many of your points! Hot doesn't not necessarily equate to connecting with the character.

I guess I'm a total character fan. If I don't care at the characters, I just don't care what happens.

I so wish I knew what the movie is you're referring to.

E.R. King said...

I think it's hard for movies to make a viewer care in so little time. If the chemistry isn't there between the actors and the acting is poor, the filming is weird, and the script is bad, I don't care how many bells and whistles there are. It'll still suck.

Liz said...

What movie are you talking about?? It's going to drive me nuts not knowing!

PatriciaTilton said...

Great post! It was very relevant for me because I am dragging myself through a novel right now that I didnt connect with -- only the last 100 pages begin to interest me. And, I predicted everything that was to happen. Liked the author's other books. This just didn't resonate. If I don't connect with a movie within their first 30 minutes, I stop. It's all about the connecting with characters. Nice job!

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I've lost track of how many movies - and books - I SHOULD HAVE liked...but didn't. I am almost positive it's because the characters were flat. Sometimes, this is the fault of the author or screenwriter but sometimes it's the actors, etc.

I watched a movie recently based on a book I so enjoyed. The trailers looked great, the actors were well known and usually very good, etc. It should have worked, it should have been excellent. But it wasn't. It wasn't bad. It was just okay. Why?

In my opinion it was because the book gave so much more detail about who these characters were that I rooted for them in the book whereas on the screen, I only got bits of background and so I didn't care as much.

Sara Bulla said...

We're all dying to know what movie of course! Great post and great interview. I pray too. I feel like I'd be writing with only half of myself if I didn't! :)

Small Town Shelly Brown said...

I'll tell you a movie that follows most but not all of those. Angel. Anyone ever seen that one?

Angela Cothran said...

Wow, everybody is so curious. So hopefully this doesn't offend anyone. This movie is rather obscure.

LORNA DOONE. Don't waste your time. It had such promise. Richard Coyle and James McAvoy are in it, for heavens sake.

Peggy Eddleman said...

I think that's the number one reason for a story (in any form) not working. If we don't love the characters, NOTHING ELSE MATTERS.

Abby Fowers said...

Loved your interview with Chantele.

And I know what you mean... HOT does NOT = love! Man - give us some history - some depth - or something! Good reasoning here. :)

Small Town Shelly Brown said...

Angie, I think I fixed it. For some reason a lot of my info on my google account went back to default (ie disappeared) I should be up and running :)

Meredith said...

I can't stand when I can't connect with a character! I don't have to like the main characters, but I have to understand them and why they fall in love (if it's a falling in love movie).

Karen said...

All the typical stuff, of course: lack of depth, lack of growth, not behaving in a believable way, unlikable to begin with,... But I think my biggest thing is not seeing something of me in them, something I can relate to, something I can bond with because it feels authentic.

I'm enjoying browsing and reading your blog. I'll be visiting often.

Kim said...

Loran Doone is my absolute favorite movie!
Just kidding - never heard of it. BUT, I love the way you analyzed why it didn't work. Such great advice for us writers :) I argee - if you don't care about the characters, it doesn't matter how much conflict they are inflicted with...
Okay. Keep up the good NaNO work!

Katrina L. Lantz said...

Really great points! Hot can be an initial connection, but for declarations of undying love, it just doesn't hack it. :) Love your posts, Angie!

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