Writing to a Formula

by on 02.18.2009

in writing

Let me preface this by saying, I have children.  From 4 to 14, which means I watch everything from The Secret Life of an American Teenager to The Imagination Movers.  And, yeah, I realize my kids should be reading.  My kids do read.  They just also watch television and play video games.  Sueme.  TV is flashier and easier for them.

There goes that point again, making a break for it.  Monday night, my daughter’s watched Spectacular, a much hyped, brand new movie from Nickolodeon.  Except, it’s not all that new.

Premise: Boy is good at one thing, probably has a future as a professional.  Boy gets involved in thing 2, usually because of a girl.  Boy is not only just as good at thing 2, he actually enjoys it more.  Boy’s family finds out, and he must choose between betraying his new, blossoming love or letting his dad/brother/mother/great uncle Joe down.

It’s called High School Musical.  Not long after that, it was a movie with Corbin Bleu about jumping rope (thing 2) and boxing (thing 1).  A few nights ago, Disney aired a movie about a boy whose dad expected him to play the baseball he was great at but he liked to cook.

Romance writers are often accused of writing to a formula.  Because having a happily ever after as a rule somehow makes a formula.  No, a formula has ingredients that must be followed to achieve an end result.  We don’t have that.

And the people writing these movies for teens and tweens and younger shouldn’t have them, either.  Because those kids are smart.  And they will realize that you’re just recycling the same storyline over and over.  And you know what I’m going to do, when my kids figure it out?  Take them to the library.  Ha.

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