Thursday, March 11, 2010

Do You Believe It?

The other night my husband and I popped in the movie 2012. In case you haven't heard about it, or seen it, the movie is supposed to chronicle the events leading up to the end of the world (predicted by the Mayan calender). I cuddled up next to my husband and dog, popcorn in hand, to watch what I'd heard was a special effects masterpiece. For the first thirty minutes or so, I enjoyed the story.

But then I got annoyed.
Really annoyed.
The reason, you ask?

Cell phones. Yes, cell phones. Granted, I understand the whole movie is a stretch of the imagination. And I love getting lost in worlds like that. But I was so annoyed at how unbelievable the cell phone service was, that it took me right out of the story. Seriously, the world is ending. *Mild Spoiler Alert Here* Everything from Seattle to Los Angeles has just fallen into the Pacific Ocean. Every natural disaster you can think of is happening. BUT, the main characters still have cell phone service. Even at the end of the movie...STILL CELL PHONE SERVICE. Honestly Columbia Pictures, who is the cell service provider for these characters??? It got to the point that I was so bothered by how unbelievable that one story line was that I stopped paying attention to everything else going on in the movie and spent the rest of the time playing Mystery Science Theater 3000 with my husband while our dog, Pippin, scavenged for dropped popcorn pieces.

The amazing cell phones got me thinking about stories and my own writing. Yeah, I've read books with characters or story lines that have thrown me right out of the world the author has created. And it's frustrating, just like the cell phones in the movie. When I read, I want at least one of several things to happen: entertain me, force me to think in a way I haven't before, help me learn something new, or make me ask myself questions I haven't thought of before. I read as an escape and the last thing I want is to be pulled out of a book because of something about the story that seems too unreal. As writers, we have to be careful to make our stories believable. And it doesn't matter what you write: romance, mystery, historical, sci-fi, fantasy, paranormal, etc. The concept applies to every book, every character, and every reaction. All aspects of your story need to be believable in the world you've created. If they're not, you run the risk of losing your reader because the story isn't true to the characters/world you've made.

So, I have to thank 2012 and its super cell phone service for...
1. Letting me know that a cell phone tower is the safest place to be when the world ends.
2. Reminding me that I always need to read through my manuscripts and see them as my audience does.
3. Helping me remember to make sure readers can truly believe all aspects of my books.


  1. LOL I love your movie review. I have yet to see this flick, but I know now the one thing I'll notice is the cell phone service. It's amazing how great the service is in movies and not so great out!

    I love what you learned from the movie, it actually makes me think twice about my manuscript as well. Something to watch out for.

  2. I watched 2012 this past weekend as well (also saw it in the theater), and I didn't pick up on the cell phone thing until just now.

    *Slapping head* Dummy!!

  3. Jen-Now I've ruined it for you! You'll notice the cell phones the whole time too! Actually, you probably won't because you're probably not as obsessive about these things as me. :)

  4. DL-I'm sure most people didn't notice it and just enjoyed the special effects, which were pretty cool. I'm just a little nuts about details. I'm the person who pauses "Lost" and zooms in on book covers and background scenes to try and figure out what in the world is happening on that island. I do the same thing with movies. :)

  5. Good thing no one needed to use a compass, and how about the Ark's getting the satelite feed at the end. I dont want to pick at it, but your right you have to think about the mechanics of your story or script. Thanks for pointing out something we as writers have to focus on in order to create realism in our stories.

  6. LOL Shain! I didn't even think of the satellite feed. Yet another thing to add to the list of reasons I was annoyed. :)

  7. I have an award for you over at my blog!

  8. How true. I'm easily distracted by things that make no sense, whether it's cell phones working after a natural disaster or a character acting totally out of character (and not in an interesting way, but in a ridiculous way). Keep it real and believable, even if you're writing fantasy.