Thursday, April 29, 2010

Have the Hero Save the Day

One thing that writers, specifically suspense writers, are told is that when the conflict is resolved the resolution needs to come from the main characters. If your hero is saving your heroine from a killer who’s following her, he needs to be involved when the take-down occurs, even if he’s not the one who physically does the taking down himself.

A while back I wrote about the video game “My Sims Agent” and showing not telling. Here’s another great lesson to be learned from My Sims Agent.

At the end of the game, you’ve solved the little mystery. You’ve saved the day, but unfortunately one member of your team has been pulled, along with the bad guy into another dimension (I know it’s kinda cheesy, but that’s okay). And now you have to finish those annoying little side games before you’re given you’re final mission (the secret one that you can only find by finishing everything) where you’ll be able to save your teammate. But you don’t get to go on the mission. You pick people to go. You sit there waiting while they do their thing, just waiting for the call to come that you’re needed, that you need to go save the day.

And that all never comes.

After a while of waiting you get a call saying that they’ve saved the team member. That the bad guy got away.

And that’s it.

No more.

It’s so anticlimactic. You feel cheated out of your chance to save the day.

I would imagine that that’s how the reader feels when the hero is sitting around drinking coffee, flirting with the heroine when he gets a phone call saying that the police picked up the would-be killer on a dead tail-light and the danger is gone.

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