Monday, June 09, 2008

John Grisham on "Foreshadowing"

From The Onion, America's Finest News Source:
Guess what? There is this really neat literary device I just learned about, and it's called "foreshadowing." It's this thing where, in the beginning of the story, you put in all these little "hints" about stuff that's going to happen later on. I can't wait to try it out!

Here's the thing. There is a difference between what makes a good book, in terms of art or even craft, and what makes a bestselling one. (I could give other examples.) An author has some measure of control over the former, but absolutely none over the latter.

I have no illusions about this. No matter how many book tours you do or how much money your publisher pours into marketing, you can't make people like something. This is why I don't understand all the "#1 movie in America" commercials for new releases--are people supposed to be so unsure of their own tastes that they need to rely on total strangers to tell them what they should enjoy?

When D and I went on the Warner Studio Tour, our guide asked everyone what their favorite WB/CW shows were so he could point out locations that had been used in filming them. We mentioned that we were big Buffy fans, and then the guy couldn't stop gushing about Moonlight, saying how "slick" it was and how the network had "designed" it to appeal to Buffy fans.

How can I put it delicately? Moonlight was crap, and I'm glad it's been cancelled, because now CBS can spend that money on something better. (Although they'll probably just order another CSI spinoff.) My original pessimism was confirmed by the pilot, and I decided not to waste any more time on it after that.

See, I don't understand people who indiscriminately love something because of its premise, sometimes sight unseen, with no regard to execution or actual content. Was I supposed to like Moonlight because I loved Buffy, and they both involved vampires? Here's a hint: I didn't love Buffy just because it had vampires in it. I loved it because of what they did with those vampires, and nobody does it like Joss Whedon and company. (But I'm still going to wait until I see Dollhouse before deciding whether I like it enough to petition for it. Seriously, folks. If you drool too much, you start to look like you're foaming at the mouth.)

If you are one of those poor souls still mourning Moonlight's cancellation, you have my sympathies, and I hope something better comes along for both of us. In the meantime, maybe you can go watch Van Helsing again. I hear that's got vampires in it.


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