about the universe forum commander Shop Now Commanders Circle
Product List FAQs home Links Contact Us

Thursday, February 02, 2017

Writing Fiction is a Challenge

This is Steven Petrick posting.

Writing is a difficult task for many people. You see this often enough in TV series (and even movies) where characters will do things that "help the plot" but make no sense as an action by the character or to the character's thought processes.

A recent example in "Supergirl" on the CW.

The Jimmy Olsen character has adopted the role of a masked vigilante (Guardian), placing his life at risk. Supergirl berates him for doing so, because she has superpowers and he does not, so it is foolish of him to take the risks he is taking.

The problem is that Supergirl's adopted sister is also without superpowers, and regularly confronts not just the more mundane and normal villains that "Guardian" has usually fought, but villains of Supergirl's level of power.

Why is Supergirl not forcing her sister to quit?

Further, why is Supergirl not showing concern for all of the other normal humans in the organization to which her adopted sister belongs who also face these dangers (many of them being mere "spear carriers"  regularly winding up dead in such confrontations and the Supergirl character is never affected by their deaths emotionally).

That latter is a continuing meme in such shows. Uniformed people die, whether soldiers, police, or members of some security organization, and there is no remorse, but a civilian on the street is harmed and the hero is all broken up by it.

Even so, please note that this is about how difficult a task writing is. Any author brings his own prejudices and pre-conceptions to what words are placed on the page, and getting past those (allowing a more realistic view of the protagonist to the individuals around them in the created world) can be very difficult. We try to keep an eye on those things when fiction is submitted to us for publication.

And of course the emotional part of writing is beyond my personal skill set, but even so I tend to recognize it when it is missing from someone else's writing, or from the plot of a TV show or movie.