What do I mean by plot crap? And does it apply to books?
|Are you calling this plot crap?|
However, most people except for die-hard classical historians will say that, as a movie, Gladiator worked. We can suspend our disbelief over some facts in order to enjoy a good story. And really, for many genres, some plot crap is pretty much required. Science fiction might be based in science, but we stretch the existing facts a little to create an intriguing future world. Fantasy exists outside of the facts of our world. Even historical fiction might need a little push to flesh out missing details or make a story flow better. Sometimes the truth needs a little plus.
|You wouldn't guess it was |
chockablock full of plot crap from the
poster, would you?
For one, there's a lack of consistency. If an experiment accidentally created giant grasshoppers, why not giant ants and giant ladybugs, too? Wouldn't there be other radiation-induced issued to worry about?
Second, the writers asked us to stretch too much. We're supposed to believe that a large-scale, radioactive agriculture experiment is being carried out in boondock nowhere Illinois...by two "scientists" in a pole barn? Yeah, I expected at least some barbed wire and some lackeys in lab coats.
Third, the plot crap feels way too convenient. If you have somewhere you want to get in a story, don't solve the problem with plot crap. Start with facts, research, and real solutions--and if you need to bridge a gap with plot crap, bridge away. Just don't make the solution too convenient, or the audience starts to get a little suspicious.
Finally, in Gladiator, the plot crap was nestled among believable, documentable facts. You wouldn't have thought to question the plot crap unless you knew better or really thought about it. In badly done plot crap, the writer relies only on plot crap--not real research.
What do you think--is plot crap excusable? When does it cross a line? Should authors try to avoid bending the facts at all costs, or can we expect the audience to suspend disbelief sometimes?