Thursday, August 18, 2016

If it's good enough for an expensive TV series

What I like about writing music is that you don't need to work out a plot. Of course you need some structure, but you don't need all the endless tinkering with action A so that it fits in with action B and so that it doesn't unravel action C, or leave unexplained loose-ends.

I'm still trying to finish The Disenchanted Wizard, which may soon be renamed The Disenchanted Author (though that doesn't have quite the same ring about it). I've probably said before in these blog posts that I always knew, somehow, that this would be a complicated story. I didn't know that it would be a story that required the author to lose much more of his hair than is compatible with keeping warm on top. My co-author/editor/jack-of-all-trades person keeps finding that having done something here causes problems there. I'm at the stage where I'd quite happily drive ahead and hope no one notices, but she doesn't work that way.

A typical publicity shot from Fortitude: note how
serious everyone looks. And cold. 
Apropos of that we've watched the first three episodes of Fortitude, a TV mystery series set on an island off the mainland of Iceland. The scenery is magnificent, especially if you like everything to be white or gray, and the cast are top notch. But even they must have some moments of bewilderment in regard to plot holes.

As so often happens with TV series, or even movies, you wonder why no one bothered to tidy up things that were left hanging. For instance, in Fortitude, a girl goes missing at one point early on. We weren't even sure which girl this was. It looked as though it might have been a child, because the story went from this girl getting her supplies from the supermarket pretty much onto what seemed to be a full-scale hunt for the missing person. Except that it wasn't the little girl, we eventually discovered (about an episode or two later). It was a woman, and she wasn't really missing anyway.

But what was weird about all this was the big missing-person-woman-hunt that was shown in one scene, with the main police character telling everyone 'We're paid to do this work, but you're not, so don't take risks.' Or something along those lines. People headed off with guns (because there are polar bears at large on this island - the first episode began with some poor fellow being eaten by one; yuk) and that was the last we heard about the woman-hunt. Next thing the police are back in their warm headquarters and the populace is back to their daily tasks, and the woman is apparently still missing but everyone seems to have forgotten this.

In another scene, the same policeman (who's a very dubious, and bullying, character) helicopters up the glacier with the search and rescue bloke (who spends more time making a fool of himself with a woman who isn't his wife than doing any search and rescue) in order to confront a couple of arrogant guys who've gone up there on snow-enabled-motorcycle-thingees. They confront them all right; the policeman takes the arrogant guy's handgun, leaves him his rifle (in case of polar bears, of course, because a handgun won't do any damage to a polar bear) and leaves them there on the glacier. Umm?

The handgun is then locked in a metal drawer in the policeman's office, and forgotten about. Until the arrogant guy turns up when everyone is conveniently out of the police station (there are at least four police people working there), breaks open the drawer (how he knows the gun is in there is something the writer never tells us), takes his gun and is off. The policeman never notices that his drawer has been broken into.

So with these sorts of things happening in highly expensive TV series why should bother me or my compatriot what happens to the plot holes in my book, which is basically costing nothing but my free time? I sometimes wonder.

Update, 21.8.16 I decided to give up watching the rest of the series (we were about 2/3 of the way through) last night because it had become increasingly violent and sadistic. Fortitude is like hell on earth: brutality is the order of the day, along with ambiguous behaviour, adultery, rape, you name it. This is apart from the spooky stuff as a result of which two violent murders take place by people apparently under the influence of - something. I guess it's revealed eventually what's behind all this, but I don't think I can hang on to find out. I had a particularly nasty nightmare last night. No doubt Fortitude isn't entirely to blame, but I'm not going to feed the flames any further...!

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