Monday, April 25, 2011

U is for Unbelievable

One of the things I hated about the movie UltraViolet (and believe me, there were many things) was the fact that the writers didn't bother to set up the story.  They just kind of threw the viewers into this world, mid-action, without ever explaining the rules of the world.  You were merely supposed to take it for granted that some super skinny vixen could dodge bullets fired from weapons that were mere feet away from her.

Oh, and people were for some reason terrified of catching this disease that would turn you into a super-sexy-bullet-dodging-vixen.  And these ultra tough people were vampires, or something.  Honestly, I went to sleep about an hour into the movie.  Once they started being able to carry people in briefcases, I pretty much tuned out.

UltraViolet was, in a word, unbelievable.  And let's be honest here, 95% of movies coming out of Hollywood showcase pretty fantastic scenarios not possible in this world.  But they're still believable because they have rules that (thankfully) they let the viewers in on pretty early.  

The Matrix, for example, could have easily gone the way of UltraViolet.  It was a confusing tale, and yet you had the sense that it was supposed to be confusing.  The viewer knew pretty early on that something was off, and this was okay.  UltraViolet, on the other hand, seemed to want you to already know what was going on without ever explaining anything.  

So it was unbelievable, and it failed.

Think about your own writing.  Do you want your readers to accept something because that's just how things work in your world without ever introducing them to the rules of that world?  If so, you might want to think about that.  You need to ground your readers into some type of reality.  It can't be all chaos.  Even chaos (in a book or movie) needs to make sense.  Alice's Adventures in Wonderland was grounded in its own type of reality.  You, as the reader, knew that nothing was as it seemed.  You could rest assured in this fact and move forward knowing that things would continue to get "curiouser and curiouser."

Is there a book you've read recently that you just couldn't get into because of how unbelievable it was?  What made it unbelievable?  And how do you deal with that stuff in your own writing?


By the way, I have some great news to share with you!  ELEMENTAL is now on Goodreads!!!!!  AND ELEMENTAL has its own fan page on Facebook!!!!

Please visit those sites today and click "like" and/or "to-read!"

And I'd really appreciate it if you guys could spread the word around to your friends on facebook and goodreads.  Thanks!


  1. I know exactly what you mean. I never watched Ultraviolet, but I recently read a book that made it very hard for me to suspend my disbelief. It wasn't a bad book, per se, I just didn't buy the basic premise. It presented a world where people had agreed to something that completely went opposite of human nature, and I just couldn't buy it.

    And I'll go check out Elemental's new pages! Good luck as you get close to release!

  2. HAHAHA!! Sarah has hit me over the head with this rule in my last book. "Rules, rules, JD. You need to let the reader know the rules ... or it's confusing!" Bang! On the head. Bang! Bang!

    Okay, okay. I. Get. It. LoL. I promise to make sure I tell the reader about the rules.


  3. Oof, this movie sounds terrible just by you describing it, lol :D

  4. I was the first one to LIKE ELEMENTAL at Facebook, I demand that to be noted he he :))

    ULTRAVIOLET - such lovely title, such bad actress and film.

  5. My husband has this problem a lot. I'm not one that really cares unless it's WAY OUT OF THIS WORLD unless it's suppsoed to be. I suppose I'm easy to please, my husband, not so much.

  6. Dude, the video post went down again! Something about EMI copyrights?

    That sucks!

  7. I can't think of a recent movie or book, though I'm sure they'll come to me later on down the line, but the show 24 became so unrealistic and unbelievable (to me, I know other people loved it, including my husband) that I couldn't watch it past halfway through the first season. There are many factors that will allow you to suspend disbelief for a movie, book, television show, and I hate when they aren't present, so I can't get into it and just enjoy it.

    Good luck with the remainder of the A to Z Challenge!

  8. I've read a lot of far-fetched romances I've're right, though, there is a line that shouldn't be crossed.


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