Plot, Pacing, and Structure
How IDENTITY THIEF taught me enough is enough
I recently watched Identity Thief. Well, that's a lie. I watched 75% of it before I gave up. If you've seen it and liked it, you might not see the humor in my blog post. If you haven't seen it, but really wanted to, you won't want to read the blog post. There are spoilers.
If, however, you're interested in finding out how that movie helped me analyze my own plot twists and external conflict, then you can read it in it's entirety here: http://noellepierce.com/blog/2013/07/when-enough-is-enough/
Here's a bit of my thoughts (without spoilers):
So, I have a point to make in this blog post–it’s not just a review of the movie. My point is: use this movie as a learning tool. Yes, you can keep throwing things at your hero and heroine to make things more difficult, but you must learn when enough is enough.
If the stakes are high enough to get you to the ending, don’t feel you need to add something else into the mix. You don’t HAVE to answer that last “What if…” when you’re plotting. Learn to say no.
If you DO raise the stakes, ask yourself why you’re doing it. Is it beneficial (or necessary) for character growth? Is it just for laughs? Is it because the original premise isn’t strong enough? If it’s because of this last one, the answer is obvious: rework your premise.
Adding charcoal briquettes to an unlit fire doesn’t do anything but add charcoal (and wastes them once they’re lit). Use the briquettes sparingly and make each one count.
(I'm unnecessarily proud of this metaphor. It's rare for me to come up with them. *grin*)
Any movies you've watched and learned from like this?
Hi Noelle--yes, you should be proud--awesome metaphor, and SO seasonally appropriate as well! Well done!
I do love Melissa McCarthy, but I haven't seen the movie and wasn't planning to. But you are a lady after my own heart--I always workshop Hollywood movies (especially bad ones) with myself. (Don't EVEN get me started on P.S. I Love You.)
Very enjoyable read. And it's not just Identity Thief that does this. I've come across a number of movies, and the most prominent example that comes to my mind are the second and third Pirates of the Caribbean movies. Too many plot twists, too many double-crosses, to the point that in the third movie, I have absolutely no idea who the filmmakers want me to root for or what I'm supposed to want to happen.
I'm also tempted to mention Michael Crichton's Pirate Latitudes, but that would be a cheap shot, given that it was a first draft published after his death. If he'd had the chance to work on it more, the final draft may not have had this issue.