Aug 18, 2011

Moves, Passports and OCD Criminals

By Susan G. Haws
I was just reading a book and enjoying it and then the female main character decided to leave town for the summer and to not return to her rented house. So she took a whole day to pack because she would just be taking her most important belongings with her and the rest would go to storage or be donated. The moving/storage people and the donation people did not get mentioned as arriving or expected. Yet the woman was leaving town immediately.
 Didn’t she worry that the moving storage people and the donation people might get things mixed up? What about the owner of the house would they let people in? We are assuming that the owner isn’t owed money and no lease is broken. As I have never taken only one day to move unless it was way back in the dark ages in college days (and then I couldn’t leave until the premises was inspected). It pulled me out of the story for a minute.
Another thing that pulls me out of a story when I watch a show or read a book is perfectly filed evidence.   Bad guys generally seem to be  great record keepers. Much of the time if the good guy sneaks into the bad guy’s office or home the files needed are right there in the filing cabinet under a  label the good guy expected. Granted, once in a while there are double books. But there is never an overflowing inbox or filing box to go through. Bad guys seem to be OCD(Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) tidy.
For being such tidy people themselves bad guys seem to hire thugs that are just the opposite. If a house is trashed by bad guys  looking for something or just trying to make a point   the residence is  always so messed up it would take an army to get it back looking pristine by the time  the book or movie has the house back to normal. And yet our super fast heroine or hero has it back looking perfect right away even though cushions were slashed and papers were strewn about. I would like some of that speed and energy.
Shows and books always assume that everyone has a passport so at the drop of a hat they can travel internationally. Yet the person needing to fly the next day may have lived the quiet life with no expectations of travel. So why did they have a passport?  Had they planned ahead in hopes of traveling someday? I better plan ahead and get my passport. You just never know what opportunities are coming in the next chapter.
These are just things that pull me out of the story when I don’t feel that the explanation was believable or when no explanation was offered at all.  What pulls you out of a story?


  1. I love it! It always pulls me out of the story when things are a little too convenient (like the passport thing).

  2. I get pulled out whenever I come across a name that's so weird or complex that I have a hard time pronouncing it. Like "Renesmee" for example. If I trip on it every time I read it then I'm pulled out of the story time and time again. Hate that!

  3. Anachronisms in the language pull me out of a story. Characters in a regency romance wouldn't say "Somewhere down the road he'd realize she was right." I also get hung up on strange name pronunciations, even with authentic names, unless it's explained, or unless it's a gimmick tied to the story that makes it funny. Mark Twain, in an essay entitled "Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offenses," made this point when he said that Leatherstocking's Indian sidekick was named "Chingachgook," pronounced "Chicago."

  4. Guess I'm weird none of that stuff bothers me.


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