Today while writing about my VN, I realised I would have to dismiss a cool-but-unlikely feature. It’s the kind of feature that would have looked great on film but bad on paper — the sort of thing one of my workshop members calls “The Refrigerator Problem”: namely, a plot device whose problematic elements don’t occur to the reader until she opens the fridge for a beer but bother her perniciously thereafter, causing her to question the theoretical underpinnings of the story as a whole.
My inner editor is a much bigger bully than any other editor I’ve ever worked with (who as a rule have not been bullies), and today she recognized The Refrigerator Problem and refused to let it slide.
“They would never have been released with this feature,” she said.
“It was a bug, not a feature,” I told her. “They didn’t know before rollout.”
“Then why is it consistent in all models?”
She had me, there. I had to yield the point. And so I explained to Mr. Ashby on the subway this evening. “I realized I only wanted it for SFX value,” I said. “I only wanted it because it was shiny and it would look awesome.”
“But think about action movies that look awesome and have bad continuity,” he said. “Is that what you want?”
Given my film tastes, it’s hard to answer this one honestly. Watching Watchmen this weekend, I found myself laughing in utter delight when Li’l Rorschach gave his classmates what-for. I wiggle in my seat for good action scenes. I love them. I’m not sure why this is. But that bone-deep satisfaction that other women are supposed to get from a good onscreen kiss is what I get when I watch a well-choreographed, well-edited action scene.
It’s probably also why I wrote a scene involving a naked robot fighting some bounty hunters, today. That, and I watched Blade Runner with Dad in the third grade. Some things just get burned into your mind.
But back to my original point. There are sometimes things you have to let go of, and I like that my inner editor is actually able to pinpoint them, now, when she couldn’t before. She now recognizes things that would visually enhance my beloved fight scenes while steadily eroding what little worldbuilding I’d managed to do. I am happy about this. I am also happy that I can let these things go, rather than finding some way to shoehorn them into the plot.
Now, if she could improve my prose…