Sunday, April 4, 2010

What An Awful Movie Taught Me About Writing

I like my novels sweet, sexy and oh-so-romantic.

But give me movies full of zombies, killer bees, mobsters, vigilante justice, explosions and plenty of blood-soaked fistfights.

So although the movie CA$H (Bullets, Blood and a Fistful of Cash) was missing hungry zombies and pissed-off bees, it boasted everything else I adore in a film.

The plot? Our hero, Cash is an ex-con seeking revenge on the culprit who raped and killed his wife.

Mr. Phyllis fell asleep in the middle of an early fight scene with fake blood squirting into the air like a Las Vegas fountain grumbling something about picking the next movie.

I’ll admit, the movie had a cheesy, amateurish look and was getting really tedious. Still, there was plenty of popcorn so I suffered through it.

Then came the ending…

Captured by the bad guy, Cash is tied to a chair with broken legs and both hands broken at the wrists – bone sticking out of all of the breaks.

Up until now, this straight-to-DVD flick had been very predictable, but now I was biting my nails. How in the heck was Cash going to get out of this mess!?!?

The bad guy pulls out his gun and gets in our helpless hero’s face. Then suddenly, Cash raises his broken arm and jabs him in the throat with an exposed bone. The villain dies a painful, bloody death.

Wow! What an ending!

It made me forget an hour and a half of mediocrity and search for more movies by this filmmaker.

If you’re still with me, my point is as writers we spend so much time crafting the perfect beginning. We should. After all, it’s what convinces someone who picks up our book at the bookstore to buy.

Yet sometimes our endings can get lost in the rush to type ‘the end’ after writing three-to-four hundred pages.

Watching CA$H taught me I’ll have to go beyond giving readers a satisfying happily-ever-after and make sure to give my books endings that will leave ‘em them desperate for more.


Liane Spicer said...

Phyllis! LOL! I can't believe you sat through that; I'm SO with Mr. Phyllis on this one. But yeah, I get your point. Endings must rock.

Lynn Emery said...

Jagged bone through the jugular, got it. I can see it now in my next book, hero leans down to plant a kiss, then bam! Heroine lets him have it for messing up her hairdo. LOL Seriously, great post.

Jewel Amethyst said...

lol. You are so right. I've read quite a few books that start with a bang, but end with a whimper.

I'll keep that in mind when crafting future stories.

Phyllis Bourne said...

Happy Easter Lynn, Liane and Jewel!

@Lynn - I could totally see a bone to the jugular if a hero got frisky after the heroine just got her hair done.

I just watched a Norwegian movie featuring military zombies who still think they're fighting WWII. Fun stuff! Again, it had a fantastic ending. (All the killed off zombies came back to life - again!)

Makes the 'lets get married in Vegas' at the end of my last one seem kinda lame.

Katrina said...

I so needed to read this right now. I am rushing through this book and need to remember that my ending needs to pack a punch. Maybe not a death blow, but definitely a punch!

Don said...

I haven't seen nor heard of this film but the ending kinda made me laugh. Just when I've seen it all.....

Hilarious @ I’ll admit, the movie had a cheesy, amateurish look and was getting really tedious. Still, there was plenty of popcorn so I suffered through it. I too have felt the same during the times where I was dragged to a movie.

Agreed - the ending must leave members of any audience wanting even more.