watching, reading, and writing stories

How to write in a fastpaced world

on May 7, 2013

I’ve noticed recently that storytelling has changed in recent years. I supposed it’s always changing, but it’s so gradual that we don’t notice it. However, if you ever go back to something written or filmed years ago, the change is very apparent. I was watching Knight Rider, a TV show from the 80s on Netflix the other day and I realized how slow the plot seemed to move along. There were several scenes of the characters just walking or looking at each other without dialogue. It seemed awkward, and a little boring. At some points I just had to laugh, because the acting seemed so fake. Granted, this was the first season, so I’m sure some things improved once the show got rolling. But there was still a major difference between that show, and any other 1 hour TV show that is airing now.

I was talking with some fellow writers about the changing culture and the impact social media has had on how we write stories. We’re so used to instant messaging, instant access, something always grabbing our attention, that a slowly built story is very hard to get through. It’s ‘boring’ unless we take the time to invest in it and get caught into the story. This kind of ties in to one of my earlier posts about giving myself time to read a book and actually get sucked in to the plot. I’m so used to my time being torn between little responses to texts and messages that it can be hard to just sit and focus on one thing for an extended period of time. Even now as I’m writing this blog, I’m messaging with a friend on Facebook.

So with all these little distractions and instant entertainment, I believe the way to write a story has shifted. As I’m working on my own novel, I find myself trying to throw in action and suspense at every turn so my readers will stay interested. Instead of a long history to set up the story, I jump right into the suspense. Otherwise my readers will get bored and stop reading. I’m also trying to give less descriptions, or complicated images and instead rely heavily on action and dialogue.

The ladies I was talking to suggested that because we can see so many things with TV, internet, and movies, we don’t need to be told what something looks like. Earlier writers had to describe things that their readers may never have seen before, but if we really want to know what something looks like, we could Google an image.

Of course, my opinion isn’t the only one that matters. Feel free to give me your opinion on the current culture’s influence on writing. I’d love to hear it.


2 responses to “How to write in a fastpaced world

  1. Interesting perspective! I never thought of this before, but can see where you are coming from now that I think of it. Sometimes this is the reason that I like to read the book first before I see the movie. Books that have been turned into movies, leave out a lot of points I think were important. You see more of the action parts from the books than the latter. I do enjoy books though, that have a lot of action to keep you reading more! Thank you for the thought provoking post! 🙂

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