How Late Night TV Led To A Post About Predictability

Today’s post exists only because my daughter decided to love me last night and play with my hair.

This was an unpredictable event that led to a post on predictability.

See, normally I am in bed by nine o’clock. I’m one of those weird people who go to sleep early and rise with the chickens.

BUT…last night, after watching Dancing With The Stars, my daughter decided to give me a little mommy affection by playing with my hair for AN ENTIRE HOUR.

For any women out there somehow not in the know of why this is AMAZING, and for anyone of the male origin who is oblivious as to why women like to have their hair played with: IT IS THE MOST RELAXING THING IN THE WORLD.  Makes your bones gooey and your lids heavy. 

Maybe she just wanted to stay up. Who knows? Who cares? I take all the petting I can get.

Anyway…the television stayed on and a show I had seen advertised but never watched came on: Castle.

If you know this show and love it, then I’m sorry for my ignorance. I am asleep when other adults watch the cool stuff. 

If you don’t know this show, then I’m glad to introduce you and recommend you check it out.

Last night’s episode had a scene (with writers Michael Connelly and Dennis Lahane) that got me thinking about some of the comments I’ve made on this blog about predictability.

Watch the scene here:

Now…let me clarify a couple things about predictability.

First…All genre fiction has a level of predictability because that is how the genre is defined.

A Paranormal Young Adult Romance is pretty self explanatory.  Reader’s know what to expect when they buy a book in any specific genre.

TO A POINT.

Like the writers say (in so many words) in the scene from Castle: Be original, please.

This is the kind of predictability that I, as a writer, fight against every time I sit down to type.

It’s the kind of predictability that takes AWAY from the story rather than ADDING to it because it follows a path well worn by other writers.

Ever read a book and think, “Wow.  That was so similar to (insert book title here)!”

I have. And I hate it when it happens.

What do I love? Novels that blur the typical guidelines for characters, relationships, conflicts and plot.

I like to be captivated. I like characters who are different from every other character in every other book. I like plots that don’t need nonsensical knots tied in places they don’t belong in order to force the threads together. And…I like conflict that extends the bounds of the norm.

Belonging to a genre requires certain predictabilities.  Think about it…How many romance novels have an unhappy ending? How many mysteries don’t solve the crime?

These books have a level of predictability in how they may end, but the journey to that end is what is so much fun…especially if the writer keeps the reader constantly peering around the corner to the next scene.

So…to all my writer friends out there: Think Outside The Box.

**And yes…I do consider a nine o’clock show Late Night TV. Seriously.

How about you? How do you feel about predictability in genre fiction? In your own writing?

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