Thursday, January 10, 2013

Too, too, too.....I just don't believe it

I'm tatting, but I'm working on pieces for a new book, so I haven't shown anything for a while. I have an over all concept but it's creating the pieces to fit that is causing headaches. Designing is easy, but designing for a specific result is harder. Each time you add in a new parameter the designing gets more complicated. For example you start out to design a motif. That's easy to do. Make any old shape, any old combination of rings and chains. Make the motif a star shape and that adds a complication because now the design needs to have 5 distinct points. Make it fit inside a 2.5 inch bangle and that gives you another restriction because it can't be too big or too small. See what I mean?

Here's a picture of some of the rejects, bits that are TOO. Too big, too small, too fat, too plain, too open, too something.

I suppose, that it's the same problem with novels and screen plays. The author has a story idea and then has to fit all of the other bits and pieces in to make it work. It still drives me nuts. How many movies have you watched where there is an ax murderer, rapist bad guy running around and the heroine just accidentally forgets to lock the back door/window? Like that's ever going to happen. Most people in urban areas, step inside and automatically lock their doors. The only time the doors are unlocked is during full daylight when lots of people are moving back and forth between house and yard. Even then, most people check to make sure the doors and windows are locked before going to bed.

When preposterous things happen in a story line I end up yelling at the TV if it's a movie or throwing the book across the room if it's a novel. I keep seeing easier more practical ways of working things out. The other day I was reading an historical romance, as opposed to a sex in the suburbs, novel and the only thing that kept me reading, were the antics of where they kept trying to hide the dead body. Once I grasped that it was mostly a farce, I could suspend my criticism somewhat. Although the supposed "historical" novels get my goat when modern day attitudes are attributed to historical people. I think that bothers me more because anyone who reads historical novels tends to know a bit about how things worked in the good old days.

What really got me about this one was the convoluted idea that the body of the deceased husband had to be hidden for a few days so that the wife could sponsor her sister for the season, get her a husband and thereby have access to her dower to pay a family debt. Once it was known that the spouse was dead she would have to go into mourning and wouldn't be able to attend frivolous things like balls, concerts and parties so  I guess it could happen, maybe. What I wondered immediately though, was why bother? If the deceased spouse, a really nasty guy, is dead, then his surviving wife has full control of his wealth which was originally her dowry. Why doesn't the widow just announce to one and all that the wretched man is dead and have the lawyer pay off her family's debt? No, that would be too simple, too practical, too realistic, too straight forward.

Surely it's much more believable that 3 well bred ladies in all their finery would carry a rolled up rug through the house, past all of the servants to leave the body in his own bed. Especially when historically, ladies would not even touch a rug, let alone carry it, that's a job for servants. Keeping him for a couple of days requires ice, lots of ice which again is a job for servants. How do ladies get that much ice into the house and up to the bedroom? How do they dispose of the water from the melted ice? Another job for servants. How do they explain that the master of the house is too sick to leave his room, but there is no need to build a fire to keep him warm, or clean out the ashes? More servant work. If he's too sick to leave his bedroom, who brings him his meals or empties his chamber pot? All little things that don't add up and make the whole story line preposterous.

Then there are the inevitable "historical" scenarios where the hero and heroine are thrown together and into bed with one another within days if not hours of meeting one another. In historical times, with historical attitudes, it would never happen. Well bred ladies did not go places unattended. Their parent or guardian would not let them out of the house without a chaperone whose job was to see that the lady was not, ever, placed in a position where she would talk to a strange man and well bred young men would not attempt to talk to a young lady until after being introduced by a mutual acquaintance.

What about the police/detective/mystery stories where ordinary citizens tramp through crime scenes picking up clues? Reality is that once a crime scene has been identified by the police, no one is allowed in except the police. Picking up bits and pieces from the crime scene? Are you joking? That's an invitation to some quiet time apart at public expense.

Do writers think we're all idiots? Are we expected to just believe that these things are not only plausible but normal? Oh, I forgot..... it's fiction.


Jane Eborall said...

Another problem with designing to fit in a ring is that people's tensions vary. It's not like knitting where you can quickly make a sample to check tension and then adjust accordingly. Good luck with that task!!!

Maureen said...

Sounds as though you need a staple diet of Georgette Heyer......

Ladytats said...

you have hit the nail on the head as far as books go, the inconsistencies really bother me sometimes.

as for your tatting book. You go girl, I know it is frustrating, but you will persevere in the end. Take care and don't stress too much.

Jane McLellan said...

I did smile at your post. You're right, once you start noticing the inconsistencies and improbabilities, the story is lost. I always wonder 'what the editor was thinking??' Or was there an editor?