Saturday, February 26, 2011

Continuity and All That

I've discussed what I call 'Star Trek syndrome' before. (February 1, 2010) That's where a writer starts out with a nifty, plausible-seeming idea and starts adding detail. Then, after a few stories, discovers that the details won't fit together.

Or readers may discover the inconsistencies.

It's called "continuity," but I think 'Star Trek syndrome' sounds cooler.

A related issue is picking the wrong narrator. Or a narrator who can't do what the writer wants, in terms of telling the story.

That happened to me, with the Loonfoot Falls Chronicle-Gazette blog. It turned out to be a good way to give me practice at writing short, (relatively) tightly-worded posts: and provided me with quite a bit of background for Loonfoot Falls, a small town in central Minnesota.

Then, last year I realized that the blog, which was mostly 250-word columns in the fictional small town's newspaper, couldn't tell some of the stories I wanted it to.

That wasn't the only reason I've taken a sabbatical from that blog, but it was a major one.

A human-interest column like that, published in a small-town weekly, has limitations. Don't expect a conventional rant about repressive small-town parochialism: it's just a cultural thing. Small-town weeklies, in my experience, tend to focus on the positive aspects of personal stories. When they're not reporting 'regular' news: which is about the same in small towns as it is anywhere else.

There's a reason why I'm not at all likely to read a celebrity exposé in Sauk Centre, Minnesota's, newspaper. It's not that we lack folks like, say, Charlie Sheen or Paris Hilton. There was a fellow who got in the paper after he ran buck-naked down Main Street. The difference is that the paper treated the incident as another bit of local news, and left it at that. No op-ed about the unfairness of anti-streaker laws, the lack of a naked-pedestrian lane on local streets, or a wig-picker's explanation for why it isn't the fellow's fault. Or wasn't: the 'victim of society' fad seems to have faded.

And I've gotten off-topic.

The point is that I need to find a suitable viewpoint character for more Loonfoot Falls accounts. Or maybe take the one I have, and change the venue.

Somewhat-related posts:

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