I felt like a how-to-write book, so I browsed through the library shelves. I didn’t spot the book Mike recommended, but I did find Novelist’s Essential Guide to Creating Plot by J. Madison Davis. I’d barely started it on the T when I found the section on Spectacle and decided this was the book for me. Spectacle is one of the six basic dramatic elements, according to Aristotle. Aristotle rates it the least important.

Spectacle is the flashy stuff, like invisible rabbits slamming doors or helicopters landing on stage, or, as I tried to explain on a mailing list once, basic biology lessons:

Sex scenes are often part of contemporary novels and might be considered spectacle, also. They usually do little to advance the plot, revealing nothing much about the characters, and may be included merely for their shock valued or titillation. The lengthy description of a sex act may provide pleasure to the reader, but it usually advances the story no more than the sentence, “They made love until dawn.”

Again, that was J. Madison Davis, award-winning novelist, not yours truly. If it had been me, all that qualification (”might be,” “usually,” “may be,” “may,” “usually” again) would be replaced with definite, vigorous absolutes.

Speaking of public vindication of previously unpopular opinions of mine, the recent VVS9 implosion was quite gratifying. You wonder (if you’re an INTP) how so many people can be so clueless about so obvious a pattern over so long a time, especially when you saw the writing on the wall (or you were the writing on the wall) so early on. I admit, another disgruntled VVS8 writer egged me on to make some less-than-over-it comments on the issue, but I don’t feel vindictive about VVS8 this long after the fact. I’m just happy to see clues sprouting up all over. And it’s hard, too hard, to pass up the opportunity to say…

I told you so.

3 Responses to “Spectacle”

  1. Seema Says:

    It has been interesting to see the comments across the board, such as they have been, re VVS8. A lot of work has been put into that project from a lot of people - it’s a shame that things like this happened. It was an interesting and memorable experience, but I also feel relieved that I’m no longer under the gun, so to speak.

  2. SaRa Says:

    I don’t know what happened with VVS8, so I can’t comment on that. I know I’m not supposed to say this, but I can tell you for certain what happened with VVS9 was a lack of professionalism and a bit of stupidity and hotheadedness on the part of the production staff. Oops.

  3. Jemima Says:

    I know it’s tough being the sane one - I recall the problems your predecessor had as youngest and most reasonable producer. In the future, though, you might want to look into the history of an organization before you sign on.

    Just another Lesson for Real Life extracted from fandom…