Saturday, February 19, 2011


It's great when you can make people afraid with your writing. You set the scene, build suspense, and make them terrified to turn the page (or scroll down) and yet they must continue. A good scary movie or story will haunt the reader for years.

But what scares us? What can a writer use against us? Fear is complicated, because what frightens one person is ho-hum for the next. If you fear spiders, you might not be terrified of heights. If you are afraid of the number 13, you might not fear venomous snakes. So it's hard to find that fear spot that hits everyone.

The movie Paranormal Activity was plenty scary for a lot of people. That same movie bored others to tears. Again, the fear came from the idea that such spirits could haunt a house, and what might they do. It wasn't an immortal, hockey-mask wearing, machete wielding giant out to kill amorous teenagers. It was subtle, quiet,and for some a lot more scary.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Why 'How I Met Your Mother' is legen...wait for it...

Ever have a show that you'll watch any time it's on, even if you've seen that episode before? Even if that episode was just on, you'll watch it again? Right now, that's how I feel about How I Met Your Mother, which is a fine, fantastic show that I recommend to anyone.

There are many reasons I love that show. Let's start with the premise. I admit, I wasn't sold on it. I had no idea how they could stretch that premise into six-plus seasons, but the more I think about it, the more it works. Meeting a person is more than just a chance encounter. Every choice you ever made, good and bad, brought you to that point. The choices my wife and I made brought us together, and it's terrifying to see how just one of those choices would have meant we'd never met. I like how the show is tracking all those decisions that draw Ted closer to meeting The Mother.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Tertiary Romance

Let's talk of romance and television characters.

There's a rule in place for most television characters. If they are the show's lead, then their relationship status rarely changes. If they begin the series single, that's usually how they end it. Same rule if they are married. It's a rare sight to see the lead of the show experience a major change in relationship status Show-runners like to keep the lead static, often out of fear that the show would change too drastically, and thus alienate viewers, were there to be a huge change. So the lead stays static.

That's why you develop the relationships of the tertiary characters.

Be excellent to each other

Party on dudes!