07 September 2009


I was listening to a Creative Screenwriting Podcast on my way to pick up the kids from school last week. Mike Judge, writer/director of the movie Extract, was the interviewee. And something he said struck a chord, so much so, that I had to write it in Evernote. Immediately.

I am paraphrasing what he said ...

It's ok to be unrealistic as long as it's believable.

Another “Duh!” moment.

I know, I know - this isn’t a new revelation. The book I use from time to time, Writing Fiction, says as much.

All good fiction, even some non-fiction, is built on this idea. Star Trek, Star Wars, Herland, Outlander, Lost, Alias, the daily news - hook their audiences with the unrealistic, at least with respect to our lives, and they are believable. But why did Mike Judge’s statement strike me as so important that I had to get the thought down in before I would forget it?

Maybe my own story, in the first pass revision stage, is suffering from not being believable. Currently, I’m mired in the main character’s first encounter with a person from the world in which she’ll have to live, a world that she’s never known. I’ve been stuck on this scene for over a week,  something is not right. And I haven't been able to work it out. Is her reaction believable? How ‘bout the other person’s counter-reaction? Or maybe there is something about the unrealistic aspect of the situation?

Something for me to think about.

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