Sorry for the late post tonight guys. Blame my dying monitor. And Deadpool 2. Seriously, go watch that movie.
But onto important matters. Today I thought I'd share my thoughts on swerving. Or, put another way, subverting your audience's expectations. This has absolutely almost nothing to do at all with my having watched Deadpool.
I feel like we're in a weird age where some many tropes and cliches have been played out, where so many legitimate formulas one writing stories exist, that everyone seems to be about The Twist ™. In fact, it's become so regular that including a twist is now a cliche in and of itself. Who doesn't go to movies, especially from certain directors or in certain series, anxiously awaiting The Twist ™? We've come to expect it.
And you can't just NOT do it. Then people walk away disappointed. But if you do it wrong, people think it was contrived. I wonder if we're reaching a saturation point in fiction. They say all the good stories have already been told. My screenwriting professor told me there are only two stories in the world : Some leaves town and someone comes to town. Could it really be true? I'd like to think that we, as a people, as a culture, as a species, have a lot left to tell and that, even if we're treading on well worn ground, we can continue to innovate.
Sure, we can lay one story atop another and point at all the similarities. In some tragic cases we can show flat out plagiarism. But I don't think stories being similar should ever be a reason to ignore them. The greatest movies have been copies (lets say "homages") to previous works. Star Wars? Lucas admitted inspiration from a dozen or so older movies, including some shot-for-shot recreations of a WWII movie that I can't be bother to Google at the moment. We all know (I hope) that The Magnificent 7 was just a cowboy version of Seven Samurai. So I don't think we're in trouble there. Yet.
But still, this Twist ™ business. How do you handle it? I'm not really sure. All I can do, and all I can suggest for other writers out there, is not to worry so much. Just write the best story you can. Don't aim for a twist. Don't try to avoid one. Let the story go where it needs to go.
Also, you should all check out Aggretsuko on Netflix. It's amazing.
((Didn't see that Twist ™, did you?))
((Yes! I got through it without a single M. Night Shyamalan reference!))
Keep your eyes open for my debut novel, The Paladin.