Have you ever read a book or watched a movie, gotten to the end and been like "Omo mehn, this end no too make ọ," that could be because the payoff did not match the promise.
In the beginning of a book or movie, in the first scene,the first chapter or even before (in the prologue) three types of promises are made, and it is usually a promise of tone, of character and of plot. Every good book/movie has these.
The beginning can show if we are going for a dark tone, a comedic plot or an unreliable narrator kind of thing. You cannot actually give a dark tone in the beginning, come to the end and make it comedic. It leaves the audience feeling cheated. You also cannot create a dark, broody character and make them come off as flippant towards the middle. Even if they change and undergo a character arc, it should be consistent with the promise made in the beginning and the core of the character that and been set up.
I will give more examples when "Nepa" gives me light. Thank you.
Lovely read! And I can relate. I was writing a horror story some days ago (the first I’ve ever tried to write) and halfway I realised what I was writing was funny. I‘m aware horror comedy is a genre but that was NOT my intention. I was aiming for a heart-stopping, can’t sleep at night, scary -type of horror, so how did I get there? lol.
In any case, I continued writing as it looked like the new genre was determined to stay 😂; and when I finally finished, I chopped off the comedic bit and pasted into a fresh document. Hopefully it’ll become useful some day.
It’s definitely important to be genre conscious when writing. Thanks for this!!!
Yesterday i went to see a Nollywood film at the cinema, #Sigh. Everything was great till the last 20 minutes of the film. The story line took a sharp left and just went downhill. I'm super super bummed because i was really really really rooting for them. #Sigh.
I won't give any bad Nollywood examples but i will give some Hollywood ones. I love Tv Shows/series and some times its going really great then it just runs off the tracks.
Example 1; Pretty Little Liars starring Ashley Benson, Shay Mitchell etc. I love a good thriller and this was doing quite well but at some point they lost plot and by the end the big A reveal was sooo underwhelming.
Example 2; Gossip Girl; starring Blake Lively, Leighton Meester etc. After everything that show put us through and gossip girl was Dan Humphrey!!!!! and he marries Serena, Reallllllly!!!!!! Come onnnnnn!!!
Now examples of some that stayed true to the principles you mentioned;
Hollywood Example 1; Why Women Kill (Season 1 & 2) by Marc Cherry (creator of desperate housewives) Dramedy & Thriller. Nailed it!!!!!!! Its sooooo unfair that such a masterpiece would get cancelled #sigh.
Hollywood Example 2; Scenes From a Marriage starring Jessica Chastain, Drama. So good, sooo sooo good. Gosh, the story, the tone, the pace, the character development .... just superb.
Nollywood Example 1; A simple lie (directed by Biodun Stephen). Dramedy. It delivered everything that was promised and surpassed my expectations.
Nollywood Example 2; Sugar Rush (Written by Jade Osiberu) Dramedy. You are laughing from the beginning to the end and rooting for the sisters at the same time. Its Hangover 1 all over again.
Bollywood Example 1; Fame Game starring Madhuri Dixit, thriller. The story line, the build up and the big reveal worked really well.
Bollywood Example 2; Kahaani starring Vidya Balan, thriller. The plot, the twists and the reveal were spot on.
Has Nepa brought light yet? We want more examples lol.
But yes - I'm guilty of this. I'm super good at setting up, I can start writing and promise the world to the reader and then lose steam 30 or so pages in. Why? Because I didn't properly think through my story and what the payoffs would be before jumping right in.
I think as writers you also have to know your strengths. There are some people who can just write and write and write and the spirit just moves them. For me, I need an outline because my spirit needs structure lol. With outlines, it's easier for me to see my promises and payoffs plainly before I jump in.