Most stories have a certain rhythm to them — I’m thinking of something beyond the basic beginning, middle, end structure. Most stories, whether in novel or movie form, have a bad-badder-baddest structure. In other words, as the story progresses, things go from bad to worse to really, really, really bad for the characters.
However — and this is a key point — it’s vital to weave some good things in the midst of all those bad-badder-baddest things. Characters can’t just experience all bad luck, all gloom and doom, all wretchedness and despair. I mean, who wants to read that kind of book or watch that kind of movie?
Case in point: The 10th Kingdom.
My two oldest daughters introduced me to the movie The 10th Kingdom, which was actually a 2000 miniseries. I sat down to watch The 10th Kingdom . . . and watched . . . and watched . . . waiting for the good stuff, i.e. good things to happen to the hero and heroine.
But it never did. Things just went from bad to worse to even worse. . . and never got better. I tried, really I did, to finish the series. And I did–but only by fast-forwarding past all the bad stuff to the long-awaited happily ever after.
The rhythm of The 10th Kingdom was all wrong. There was all disaster and no hope. Even in real life, when we’re discouraged or defeated, we still long for and look for a reason to hope, to believe there’s more to our story.
In Your Words: Have you ever found a novel so focused on the bad-badder-baddest that you couldn’t finish it? What kind of rhythm do you like in novels when it comes to the reality of struggles and the need for hope?