Hate or love them, bad movies do kinda rock. They rock even harder when you can learn from them. If you've followed The Pie for a while, you know that I've shared what you can learn about storyboarding by watching The Room.
Did you can learn about tension by watching R Kelly's Trapped in the Closet?
Yes, you can. Today we'll focus on the "read on prompt."
For those in the Lurkdom who don't know what this means, it's when a scene or chapter ends in such a way that makes you want to read a bit more. The most common version of this is the cliffhanger.
While R Kelly abuses the cliffhanger feature, he does the job of making you want to see what happens in the next scene. (That each scene grows a bit more ridiculous** is a totally different R Kelly writing lesson.) Let's watch Chapter 1 of Trapped in the Closet to see how this is done.
I know, you're in awe of the brilliance.
In this short clip, there are a few places that get you to read on by using the following techniques:
An odd set up. It might not be the strongest way to start off a scene, but everyone needs to start somewhere. The odd set up can help buy you some time with your reader. If it's wacky enough, the reader will want to know how the MC got there. Here, you want to know why the hell he's inside a bedroom closet.
Intrigue. This won't work for every scene or genre, but a sense of mystery can pique your reader's interest enough to get to your next read on prompt. It can be the mysterious loner dude or the fact Susie thinks she saw a UFO. The point of this is to get your reader to TURN THE PAGE. In the above example, the intrique is who is this lady if it's not his wife. Yes, that makes him unlikeable, but you're also a little curious about it.
Mounting tension. Tension or raised stakes are a great way to get your reader to continue on. Even though cliffhangers fall into this category, it can be something small that will affect your character's story enough that we need to know how it goes. At the end of this chapter, we're in a cliffhanger. What's going to happen now that the closet door's open and the gun is out?
Have you seen Trapped in the Closet? What have you learned from it?
Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh is hosting this blogfest.
* Yours truly is no exception.
** For example, the midget.
Last.fm hit of the day: Get Off Get Out by Anathema