This weekend my husband and I finally watched the episodes of Dominion that we'd recorded. Frankly, (lean in so I can whisper) I didn't think I was going to like it. Oh, it seemed cool enough. One good angel out of an army of angels who'd gone awry (when God got tired of us and left us all to our own devices) trying to save humanity from hoards of bad angels who thought we were spoiled pampered children...but it also seemed kind of hokey. And done. Seriously...who hasn't seen a fallen angel story?
Enter some great characters and interesting scripts acted out by some really great actors, and I sat up on my chair and watched episode two with real interest. This was far from cookie-cutter.
A lot of ...well, not nice ... people will say that romance novels are the same story told over and over. To a degree that's true. You have a hero and heroine who ultimately fall in love and have a happy ending.
Beyond that, though, everything is up for grabs. Your setting, your conflicts, your external plot can be unique and make your story different enough to take readers on a unique journey.
But notice above that I also mentioned the acting in Dominion? I did that for a reason. This show could have come across as same old same old...or hokey, or cheesy...except for good acting and good directing.
That's one of the bugaboos of our profession. You can come up with a great story, but that doesn't mean it will be a great book. Poorly written, even the best plot can fall flat or read like string cheese.
Probably the best decision I ever made I made twenty years ago, when, after having been published at least five times, I decided to study craft. I went from being someone so desperate to be published that she threw spaghetti against the wall, hoping to please someone, anyone. To being someone who finally got it that books were meant to entertain. And if I was going to come up with great stories, I was going to tell them in such a way that people would enjoy them...or a way that would transport readers...or a way that would really touch readers.
Because that's your job. Not to reach 50,000 or 60,000 or even 100,000 words, but to entertain people with those words.
So watch Dominion. Keep an open mind. LOL But, notice how villainous the villain is, and the way the hero has damned good reason to be a reluctant hero. He isn't just "not in the mood" to save the world. He's been let down by the very people who now want him to save them. See how the little girl (who could, if poorly written, only be a plot device) actually worms her way into your heart. And notice how the hero angel Michael and villain angel Gabriel sort of have their own story -- a bigger, juicier story -- going.
That's a good story. And luckily the producers seem to be taking the time to do it well.
Happy Monday...and Happy Reading!