My latest short story "The Night the Lights Came On"

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Vow | Movie Review & Writing Lesson

(spoiler warning)
If you haven't seen The Vow yet and desperately want to, go check it out and come back before you read this. However, I would advise you to save yourself from some disappointment and try a different movie instead. Let me tell you why.

This review highlights something that is important for any writer to learn - fulfilling promises to your readers. I was going to give this movie at least a 4 out of 5, until I got to the end. Now I'm giving it a 2 out of 5. This movie was well made, I was really enjoying it, but then it failed to fulfill the promise it made to me. I never got to watch the story I was told I would see unfold before my eyes. When you write books, it's important to identify the promises you make to the reader and fulfill them. Otherwise they feel cheated, like I did at the end of The Vow.

In the preview the protagonist says, "I need to make my wife fall in love with me again." If only we could have seen that happen. Now this isn't a movie I would have ever chosen to watch, my wife chose it, but I did think it looked pretty good. That said I do like romantic comedies. They're not my first choice, but I enjoy them. We watched this movie because it has an interesting premise. Two people are married and in love, an accident happens, and the wife can't remember her husband. Watching him win her back and fall in love with him all over again sounds like a pretty romantic movie, and you're rooting for him the whole time. Unfortunately you never get to see that happen. I won't ruin it for you with spoilers if you still want to see it, but just look at its rating on Rotten Tomatoes. 29% That's just under 1 1/2 stars. Like I said, the acting was great, the cinematography was very well done, and I loved the characters - but we never got to watch the movie we were promised. It lead up to it, and then left us cold.

To hear more on fulfilling promises to your readers, check out this great episode from my favorite writing podcast Writing Excuses. These guys are pros making their living writing books, and they thought this topic was important enough to devote an episode to. Do yourself a favor and give it a listen. Just click on the Writing Excuses link above. Thanks for stopping by and remember - fulfill the promises you make to your readers!

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