Monday, July 7, 2014

The Story So Far, The Idiot's Version

In recent years, I’ve noticed that lighter documentaries for TV tend to repeat information after each commercial break.  

Do these film editors believe that people can’t remember what has been presented so far?  Heaven knows that commercial breaks have gotten ridiculously long, and attention spans ridiculously short, but are viewers that stupid?

Apparently, some novelists think so because I’ve noticed the same pattern in recent novels.  The main character does a mental story recap of the important things that have happened and have to happen.  And this isn’t for complex mysteries where the clues can be confusing.  

Is this a good thing?  

I don’t think so.  Most readers aren’t stupid or are in dire need of a clue.  Nor do they like to be treated like idiots.

If important points have been lost, and the reader has to be reminded of what the main character needs to do to reach his goal, then the writer has allowed the plot and the characters to wander off point.  That’s writer stupidity, not reader stupidity.  

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