A Writer’s Goal

After a long day at the Dallas International Book Fair we returned home and I put in the movie Battleship for some mind numbing entertainment. I don't know if you've seen Battleship but it was panned to a certain extent. I've found that many movies which the critics hate, I love. I don't love Battleship, but I do enjoy it and as I was watching it I realized that the writers managed to achieve at least one goal in the movie, they evoked an emotion from me.

One thing that I always react to in movies is when a person exhibits quiet or selfless heroism. I don't mean the one where Arnold Schwarenegger walks out into a bunch of enemies firing a mini-gun. To get a reaction from me it has to be authentic. Battleship achieved this in a very, very subtle way, when one of the characters has lost his modern destroyer and is wanting to take the old battleship the Missouri to fight the bad guys. Another character mentions they don't have enough people to man the ship, and the next shot shows a number of elderly ex-crewmen from the Missouri who now work on what is a museum.

The idea that these elderly men were wiling to take this 70 year old battleship into a fight with aliens who had destroyed the most modern naval vessels in a matter of minutes choked me up.

When I write, it is that type of emotion that I hope to evoke in my reader at least once. Unfortunately, it's not easy to do and there are some books that don't lend themselves to that type of reaction. Junebug and the Body, for instance, will make you laugh but that type of emotional scene just didn't fit the book I was writing.

I think I managed to achieve it in one part of No' Chance and I've been told that I managed it twice in  The Bottle Tree. To be honest, there is one scene in  The Bottle Tree that chokes me up every tiime I read it. I still don't know why it does it and definitely didn't write it specifically hoping for that reaction but, without bragging, I think I achieved it through sheer dumb luck.

If you have or are getting  The Bottle Tree, watch for any sections that create a sensation like I've described. For me it's in Chapter 10 and at the end of Chapter 19 and beginning of Chapter 20. Let me know where it is for you.