My husband and I were watching an hour mystery on television the other day–I think it was Castle–and the detectives had just brought in the killer for questioning, when out of the blue my husband says, “That can’t be the killer. It’s too early. The show’s only halfway in.”
I sniffed back a tear of pleasure. “I have trained you well, grasshopper.”
One of the secrets I’ve learned through being an author is how to craft a believable story: tools to not reveal the killer too quickly but still keep tensions high; ways to make the supernatural, like vampires, seem perfectly natural (humor works really well there. Like the pain the poor thing feels getting a fang root canal).
The problem is, knowing the craft behind the story, the bones if you will, now gets in the way of my completely enjoying television, movies and books.
I was reading one of my go-to authors when in an early chapter, the heroine was told not to worry about the murderer, because Constable Reliable (spoiler–not his real name! lol) was watching for baddies, on patrol outside her house.
I knew…I knew Constable Reliable was going to get knocked unconscious in the Chapter Crisis. The reason I was so certain is that the heroine must always face the villain in the climax. Better yet if she does so alone. So somehow, the heroine was going to lose her protector, poor Constable Reliable, so the villain and the heroine could have their face time.
Another tell is when Stuck-at-the-hips Buddies separate. Buddy and Buddy have been together throughout the whole movie and then suddenly for some “reason” they have to go in different directions. Well, sure as anything, one of them is gonna have some bad thing happen.
Apparently DH has listen to me
complain search for new ways to enjoy stories despite meme and tropes for long enough that he’s also started seeing the hands inside the puppets and the man behind the curtain.
What about you? What tropes or factors make storytelling a little too predictable for you?