Wednesday, August 24, 2011

What Draws Me Into Stories

Normally I don't do horror: movie, book, TV, whatever, I'm not interested; I am a scaredy-cat, through and through.  It's why I resisted so much, about four years ago now, when my friend tried to convince me to start watching this horror show called Supernatural.  And I don't care what anyone says, it scared the bejeezus outta me at first (and still does, occasionally), especially the third and fifth episodes of the first season, "Dead in the Water" and "Bloody Mary."  Ugh!

But then I caught an episode of the third season, "Bad Day at Black Rock," and I was hooked.  Not only did that episode exemplify how flat-out hilarious the show can get, it also gave me a glimpse into the pure gold that is Sam and Dean, the two brothers and main characters on the show.  And after reading many reviews of the show as the years have gone on--most happy, but several disgruntled--and looking at other shows, movies, and books that I love, I have finally come to realize why I love the ones that I do: it's all about the characters.  It seems that I can, will, and do put up with all manners of silly writing, gaping plot holes, and a disappointing turn of storyline as long as there is at least one character whom I still love and am invested in.

In fact, I suspect that once I am hooked by a character I become a fangirl for life.  For just over a decade now I have been reading R.A. Salvatore's Legend of Drizzt series, and I remain as excited about each new book as I was in the sixth grade, despite massive character, setting, and even time period changes, because I still love Drizzt Do'Urden, Artemis Entreri, Jarlaxle, and others.  I know that Supernatural has lost several viewers over the past few seasons, and I know viewers who are apprehensive about the upcoming seventh season, but I am still anticipatory, as long as Sam, Dean, and Bobby aren't irrevocably destroyed.  I am a recent fan of Leverage, because I love the entire main cast; I enjoy Alphas for just three of the characters, though: Gary, Hicks, and Rachel.  And I promise that I will continue to watch the show as long as those three remain, even as I get annoyed with the others.

And the more I think about it, the more I think that this is the reason why I so love romances, and yet so many people mock/denigrate/look down on them.  Romances, especially novels (and even more especially category romances, like Harlequin!) have a tendency to not exactly "strip away," but rather extremely pare down the plot--which we have been trained to accept as nearly the sole marker of "good" writing--to focus almost exclusively on the characters; and further, to focus almost exclusively on the interactions of two characters, which I find absolutely fascinating.  Since it is because of the characters that I truly enjoy anything, it really only then makes sense that I'm an avid romance reader, doesn't it?

1 comment:

  1. I haven't ever thought of it as a character driven vs. plot driven thing with Romances, but it is something to consider and, I believe, a good observation.