Monday, August 29, 2011

Over Kill

Happy Monday!  Welcome to all my new followers (many from the Writer's Platform Building Campaign), and welcome back to all my regular followers.  I hope you all made it safely through the rain and wind from Irene.

Last night we were at loose ends and decided to watch FOOLPROOF.  (Those of you who like LEVERAGE will really enjoy this movie.)  It is about a group of friends who plan heists, plotting every detail, but never carry them out.  One day, their plans get stolen and used. They are contacted to create new plans for a new break-in in order to recover the stolen plans.

I really enjoyed the movie, but I noticed something I see much too often.  There were a few scenes where the camera pointed out something important to the viewer, then showed it again.  I understand they wanted to be certain the viewer understood the significance, but for me once was enough.  Twice was over kill.

Which brings me to writing.  I have been guilty of this in my writing, not trusting my reader to understand the first time I said it, so I add it in two or three more times.  I'll put it in exposition, then repeat it in dialogue (or vice versa).  In fact, just this morning I received back chapters from a CP and she marked three sections I had done this in.  (Thanks Tammy!!!  I promise I will fix that!)

How about you?  Do you trust your reader to get the subtle clues the first time, or do you hit them over the head with it?  And, as a reader/movie viewer, which do you prefer, those subtle "Oh, their going to that!" moments or the  "Alright, already,  I got it the first time you showed me fifteen minutes ago?" ones?


  1. Guilty as charged! I've hit 'em over the head, kicked 'em in the rear end, and hollered in their ear. I'm getting better though. Maybe. *sigh*

    Thanks for the visit and comment over at my place. Nice to meet you. :-)

  2. I think just showing once is usually enough.

  3. I prefer subtle. My other half and I love to point out to each other 'that's going to be important later' when we watch a film. It's no fun if it's too obvious.

  4. I prefer subtlety, but have found that some readers don't get it. I guess it depends on how much a person pays attention to details.

  5. Thanks all for stopping by! I should post somewhere that I try to respond to your comments by e-mail rather than in the comments. Adding it to my to-do list!

    Angelina raised a good point, which makes me ask this:

    Do you pander to those who don't pay attention and over emphasize, or do you keep it subtle and hope they learn to read/watch more carefully?

    What say you?

  6. Good point! I used to do it a lot, then I started picking it out. It's so easy to do in early mss. Now, I try to imagine writing for really smart, intuitive readers and that helps. :)

  7. It's a hard balance. You want to respect the intelligence of your reader, while allowing for the fact that unlike you they don't know the important pieces of foreshadowing. Great post.

    I'm a fellow campaigner and new follower :)

  8. Great post. Yes, we need to trust the readers to understand without the overkill. I've been guilty of this redundancy myself a few times. Thanks for reminding me to check my MS for this.

  9. I don't like to hit my readers over the head repeatedly with the same information. Readers are smart. I know I don't like to read books where I'm screaming at the author, "Okay! I GET IT ALREADY!" lol

    Also, I’m a new follower—wonderful blog! Stop by my blog and follow me too? :)

  10. Hello, fellow campaigner! I'm not in your group, but I still wanted to check out your blog and say, "HI!"

    I trust them, but then I like throwing my readers for a loop, in a good way, if I can. :)


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