Friday, January 30, 2009
Bad Writing and Why It IRKS ME! (A long Rant)
I don't tend to blog on here about my Superman/Smallville obsession because:
a/ You'll all find out how much of a geek I am...
b/ I'd probably bore you senseless...
But since this is my blog and you all know how much I like a good rant from time to time, I'm about to go off on one...
Hold onto your hats. Baton down the hatches. Cover the children's ears. I'm mad!!!
Here's the thing. I'm a full time writer. I spend hours, days, weeks, months and years working at my craft and sweating - if not blood - then plenty of tears to try and do the best work I possibly can. Maybe it's a pride thing. I like to think a good chunk of it is being a PROFESSIONAL. And when I look at other forms of writing or I watch a Movie or TV show I automatically look at the writing. It's an occupational hazard. And it's a VERY RARE THING that I will come out and be overly-critical about someone else's writing. But when that writing is on a subject I care passionately about, I have to.
And this is where the romance fan/writer in me will show when it comes to Superman. To this day I will credit my early introduction to Superman as being the first stepping stone to where I am now. I love things like Pride & Prejudice and Titanic and Sleepless In Seattle and Moonlighting (with Maddie and David) and even the Little Mermaid. I LOVE a good romance. I also like sci-fi and thrillers and documentaries and autoboigraphies, so I like to consider myself fairly well balanced, all things considered... But Superman, along with the flying around and being a hero and everything else, had something that captured my imagination and I completely fell in love with...
So I ask you, my random blog reader at the keyboard (and innocent bystander) - tell me this - Who is the love of Superman/Clark Kent's life?
I can wait a minute... And don't be put off by the promotional poster you can see here either cos the person that replaced the woman I'm thinking of? ISN'T EVEN IN IT.
Okay. For ME it's Lois Lane. (that would be the woman standing beside Clark Kent at the front of this poster by the way!) They go together like Romeo and Juliet, Lizzie and Darcy, Maddie and David, and Jack and Rose as far as I'm concerned. And there are certain things about the legendary 70 year love story of Lois Lane and Clark Kent that are as ingrained in me as the need to breathe. One of them is the Daily Planet. It's hallowed Clark Kent/Lois Lane ground. Clark Kent or Superman kisses or flies with someone off the roof of the Daily Planet and who do you think that gal is? Uh-huh.
Now I want you to take Romeo and Juliet, Lizzie and Darcy, Maddie and David and Jack and Rose or any other couple in the annals of all time whose love story has meant something to you or touched your heart and I want you to have those men end up with ANOTHER WOMAN as the love of their life. How do you feel about that? Can you imagine any writer anywhere on the face of the planet taking that on and trying to sell it to the masses? A different journey is one thing, re-writing a story that means something to hundreds of thousands - if not millions of people - to the point where it's unrecognizable and you're made to feel the heroine is a poor second choice or worse still a rebound?! It just AMAZES ME that ANY WRITER can do that and look at themself in the mirror in the morning.
Last night on Smallville, that's exactly what they did. They took a young Clark Kent and his first love Lana Lang and they placed them on the roof of the Daily Planet. They had them kiss. They had the camera pan out to reveal a dramatic sunset and the Daily Planet globe recognizable to Superman fans all over the world. It was epic. It was beautifully shot. It was one hell of a closing scene. IT WAS THE WRONG GIRL. And from what I can glean from the internet and upcoming episodes, next week they will have the equivalent of 'Super-sex' and then for an EXTERNAL reason, Lana Lang will be unable to be with Clark Kent and we'll have a tearful farewell as he is FORCED to let go of the woman he loves. All very tragic and epic and everything but guess what - *insert my manic laughter at this point* - three episodes later? HE WILL HAVE FALLEN FOR LOIS LANE!!!
Seriously - and I'm about to swear here, so turn away if you need to - Who writes this shit???
When I attended Blake Snyder's talk in San Francisco last summer, he talked about how Hollywood could learn a lot from the romance writing community. We know what we're doing. We specialize in our field. Hollywood is hit and miss at best when it comes to romance on film. And I get that 97% of romance on TV can be mind-numbing melodrama riddled with triangles and affairs and any number of a gazillion other things to get mindless suckers like me to tune in. But the people on Smallville aren't just writing for the suckers, they have a great legacy and history in their care. And last night and with what they appear to be doing in the very near future - that legacy (or certainly the romantic part of it I hold dear) - is NOT in safe or RESPECTFUL hands. I've honestly never been more angry or upset in all my born days.
So from one writer to another, whether they choose to look down their noses at what I do or not, I say this: HAVE SOME RESPECT! Don't take something that meant so much to so many people for so many years and crap over even the smallest part of it. Do what you want to reimagine the story and put your stamp creatively on something that's been handed down from one generation to another - by all means do. But don't PURPOSEFULLY crush the hero and a love story that has so much meaning along the way! Seriously? The guy who will one day be SUPERMAN cares so little about a woman's feelings that he'll sleep with one and then turn around and move on to the next?! ARE. YOU. INSANE?! How the hell is that an epic love story?! How in hell is that a HERO?! If you can't write it with the due respect it deserves, you know what? LEAVE IT THE HELL ALONE. Go write someone elses story. Re-tell it beyond all recognition but don't even THINK about touching such a dearly held part of the original. Dear lord - does a paycheck mean so much to you that you'll slap fans of one of the greatest love stories of all time in the face along the way?!
Here's the thing. I have the greatest respect in the world for my readers. Anyone who invests time and money reading one of my books is helping me not only to make a living, but to fulfill the dream I had of being a writer. Without my readers I'm just a gal who sits at a keyboard thinking up stories. Is it so much to expect the same thing as a viewer when it comes to a show I love and characters I love? I didn't think it was. Maybe I was wrong about that.
It makes me oh-so-very-glad that I do what I do. That by the last page of a romance novel you can believe those two people will stand side by side and get through anything together. That they fell in love and knew how much that meant and they were better and stronger people because of it. That the person they fell in love MEANT MORE TO THEM THAN ANYONE ELSE EVER HAD.
Meanwhile, if you're a Superman fan like me and you love the Lois Lane and Clark Kent love story, if I were you - for the foreseeable (and I'll let you know if things miraculously change) - I would stay the HELL AWAY from Smallville. And I'm saying that as a fan of the show. How sad is THAT?! Shame on them I say. Shame on DC Comics for letting them do it. And shame on WB who have a huge stake in both for letting it happen.
In the Smallville writers universe, Darcy probably married Lydia!
How would you guys feel about seeing a love story you adore re-written to this extent?
Posted by Trish Wylie