11 June 2012

The problem with being a writer is you start deconstructing stories left and right.

"The difference between reality and fiction? Fiction has to make sense."   —Tom Clancy

I've spent so much time analyzing writing in books that it's starting to become difficult to sit back and enjoy a story. If it's a story I haven't heard before, I can sit back and enjoy it on the first go. But on the second? My inner writer starts commenting. (This is quite enjoyable when her comments are positive.)
Look what he's doing with the plot here. Oh, that's clever.
Why is this character drinking so much orange juice? Does she have a Vitamin C deficiency?
OH she's totally foreshadowing the big twist later. Awesome!
Is this character supposed to seem this neurotic? Why do none of the other characters react to his weirdness?
My inner writer, I've recently discovered, likes to pop up when I'm trying to enjoy movies I loved in childhood. I decided to let her live tweet Aladdin this past weekend, when it was on television. It started when I noticed the lyrics change in the opening song.*
*Apparently some Arab-American groups complained about the orignal lyrics being racist, and the change does not satisfy them. Well, duh! If you start thinking about it, the whole movie is kind of racist against Arabs. But that's off topic.

So here's some knee-jerk thoughts on Aladdin, from my inner writer who can't shut up.

These are the kind of random thoughts that I occasionally share via Twitter.

Clearly I got a little caught up with Aladdin's lack of serious disguise. It wasn't important when I was a kid, but now it seems absurd. Jasmine really couldn't recognize him when the only real difference was that he was wearing a shirt?

Not to say that unbelievable disguises are anything new, or that Aladdin is bad. I still like Aladdin, although I can see some flaws. (The negative stereotypes is a biggie.) And it's interesting how much some of these ideas remind me strongly of other stories. I guess there really are only so many stories in the world, huh?

And not to drag on Jasmine too much. As Disney princesses go, I think she's the only one who was running away from royal life and the only instance I can think of where it was the male lead who marries up rather than the female lead going from rags to riches. In many ways, I think Jasmine is a very interesting character.

This reminded me that one thing to keep in mind when storytelling is to explain things. Like can the human body really withstand the temperatures that close to molten lava? Shouldn't Aladdin be sweating and literally baking? 

And most importantly, where is the Sultan keeping all those crackers?

Now You!

We tend to expect a higher amount of sense from fiction than we are accustomed to receiving in real life. (Possibly not true if you are a scientist.) Tom Clancy once commented: "The difference between reality and fiction? Fiction has to make sense."

When was the last instance of fiction not making sense to you?