The Dream Café

Steven Brust: “A masterful storyteller of contagious glee and self-deprecating badassery” —Skyler White

I have something important to tell you

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To all writers, and especially TV writers, just thought you should know that the riff where someone says, “I have something important to tell you,” and then gets interrupted before being able to tell it, is now played out.  In fact, it was played out the first time it was used.  If your goal is to make me think, I guess it works; but what I think is, “Geez, what a lousy writer.”

Maybe you can come up with some clever twist on it, where that is what happens, but it doesn’t seem to be what happens, so that the audience doesn’t realize that you’re pulling that stunt until the reveal.  If you can do that, fine.  If not, I think you ought to take that gimmick and put it into the bag next to woman-who-kicks-ass-because-her-kid-is-threatened and drop it into Lake Michigan; with all the pollution already there it’ll hardly be noticed.

Thank you.  That is all.

corwin

Author: corwin

Site administrative account, so probably Corwin, Felix or DD-B.

0 Comments

  1. You know, I’ve put a lot of thought into this very topic, and I think I came up with a solution.

    It’s important that you hear it, because….

    ….wait…the kids are screaming, I have to go kick ass.

  2. What I want is for somebody’s “important” news to be orthogonal to what the main character thinks is important at the moment.

  3. Mris, I think I’ve seen that once or twice, actually. For some reason I’m thinking Monk did it.

  4. How about the security guard/cop who tells the person outside the crime scene every bit of important information, despite being complete strangers to one another?

    I love that.

  5. “… stupid Athyra.”
    “She’s not ….”
    [interruption]

  6. Might I direct you to a list of discredited tropes for further amusement?

    http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/DiscreditedTrope

    Be warned, the site has some addictive qualities.

  7. Yes, Larry. And did you pick on it being a key piece of information that you were denied?

  8. Perhaps this is the counter-example?

    “Loiosh, do you remember that peasant who helped us bury the Merss family?”
    “Sure, Boss”
    “He started to say something about them. About how some winter they did something or other.”
    “I remember.”
    The wind was very cold.
    “I wish I’d let him finish the story,” I said.

  9. Please include every TV writer of police/crime shows. So tired of every criminalogist overlooking one basic question: Where were you at (such and such) time? Makes the cops look more stupid than ever. Does anyone wonder why the public has no trust in the police forces.

  10. I don’t think either of the counter examples provided do what Steve is complaining about. Correct me if I’m wrong, but usually when someone uses that trope, there is a very important piece of information that is being left out, and in most sit-coms we know what that piece of information is. In mystery/crime shows, that’s a completely different story, but I’m not sure that matters right now.

    I guess the point I’m trying to make here is that a writer isn’t invoking this particular trope every time an interruption occurs. I can’t speak for the first example, but the second example seems to use the missing information as an opportunity to develop Vlad’s character, rather than just leave out information for interruption’s sake.

    That’s when interruptions are annoying, when they seem to do nothing but delay inevitable plot points, as far as we know, neither of those examples did that.

  11. I just reread , and I have to say that it seems more like something Morrolan was mentioning as an aside, not something he thought was important. I don’t think it quite fits that trope.

    And the second is a lampshade. It wasn’t important, yet Vlad wishes he had listened.

  12. @6 Neat site, thanks.

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