You'll Find A WayToday's Tune:
this blog post where you can win a signed copy of Nina LaCour's THE DISENCHANTMENTS. Go! Fight! Win! Maybe not fight. But win!
My significant other and I recently started watching Teen Wolf. We're finding it weirdly addictive, even though it's incredibly predictable and basically exactly what you'd expect from a show about teenage werewolves.
It's the characters. It's got to be.
But anyway, as I mentioned, we're enjoying this show for the brain candy factor, regardless of its cliche-tastic plot lines. And while we watch, I've noticed we have the same exchange over and over again.
"Okay, that guy was his ride. Why is he just going to stick around in the woods instead of leaving with him? There's no reason for him to stay there."
"Because it's not in the script."
"That guy has the stare-and-brood down. Surely he realizes he'd be less conspicuous if he just acted like a normal person instead of the creepy guy staring at you from the corner of a raging party."
"Yeah, but that's not in the script."
"WHY DOESN'T ANYONE JUST SAY WHAT'S GOING ON INSTEAD OF ACTING ALL CAGEY ABOUT EVERYTHING."
"It's not in the script."
I imagine you're seeing a pattern here. When I use the phrase "it's not in the script," what I'm really implying is that the story has reached a point where I'm pulled out of my immersion and reminded that I'm reading/watching a work of fiction. It's the point where I can see the strings and know exactly where the writer's going with this. The spell is broken.
We often hear people say something "pulled them out of the story," and this is essentially the same principle. When dialogue is stilted, or a plot turn is super predictable, or something about the story just doesn't quite make sense, then your audience is reminded that they're reading words on a page, not surrounding themselves in a story. And sometimes that's okay; sometimes people don't mind a cheesy, predictable world as long as there's something else keeping them entertained.
Still, it's an important question to ask yourself: are you letting your cards show? Are you forcing your characters and dialogue and setting into a box they don't really fit into? Are you letting your need to script each scene get in the way of genuine interaction and organic plot development?
Are you okay with going off script every once in a while?