Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Being Psychic

This post is going to seem like one big brag, even if it's not meant to be.  The more I've gotten into writing, the more I've found myself critically reviewing every piece of storytelling I come across, from movies to novels.  I find myself wondering, How would I write this?  What ending would I provide?

More often than not, I've discovered that I can predict the ending of a story with pretty good certainty. (**SPOILER ALERTS AHEAD**)  This first became a conscious part of my thought when I read Homeward Bound by Harry Turtledove.  As the story progressed, I could see that Earth would figure out faster-than-light travel and gain superiority over The Race.  When I read Doctor Sleep, I was barely a quarter of the way into the novel before I figured out that Danny Torrence and Abra Stone were related.  And while watching shows like Once Upon A Time, I can tell when people are going to turn, as well as which villain will be introduced next.

I know, I know...this sounds like a cheering session where I revel in my predictive powers, but I swear that that isn't it.  Instead, I'm wondering how many other writers encounter this phenomenon about themselves.  Is this a function of storytelling in general?  Is putting our imaginations to use for a living giving us insight that many either don't have or choose to ignore?

Admittedly, this can take the fun out of some of the entertainment, but I've found a new joy in seeing if my hunches are right.  I'll write down in a notepad what I think it going to happen - my wife has forbidden me from doing this out loud any longer...I guess she likes surprises - and see how closely it matches up to what comes out.  My success rate is above 80%.

Not to sound like a snob again, but I think this comes from only getting into what I consider "good" storytelling.  I relate to what I'm coming across, and it's in line with what I'd have written.  As a snob on storytelling, I discard that which I find either poorly written or just plain boring, so I don't get the chance to see if I could transfer this ability to those stories.  The few times I've watched or read what I consider wretched, I've rolled my eyes at what the storyteller came up with, for it's either juvenile or waaaaaayyyyyyy out there(see Sleepy Hollow).

Reading back through this, it definitely comes off as one of my more arrogant posts, and I'm fine with that.  I suspect that, deep down, more writers than would care to admit it would, if you got them drunk enough, cop to the same thing.

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