Wednesday, December 04, 2019

It's The Journey

It’s Hallmark Christmas movie time once again. I’ve watched my share of them over the last few years after my sister got me hooked. Some I really love, some I think are just okay. But I always know what I’m getting with them. The couple always gets together and any other issues that come up are resolved in a positive manner.

I’ve heard some people complain that they’re too formulaic, too predictable and you always know the ending when you start. I suspect that’s why a lot of people watch them, because they know things will turn out okay in the end. For me, they’re a nice respite after watching grittier TV shows where things don’t always turn out as I want and favorite characters die.

It doesn’t matter to me that I know the basic ending. For me, these stories are all about the journey. How do they get together? What obstacles do they encounter that could keep them apart? Is it an interesting setting or an intriguing idea?

A recent one I watched, Write Before Christmas, had an interesting premise—at least to me. The woman’s boyfriend broke up with her a couple weeks before Christmas. She’d bought him 5 cards to send to him during the holiday period. So, instead of throwing them away, she sent each one to someone who’d been important in her life and told them how much they meant to her: her music teacher, the boy band member whose music had gotten her through tough times in adolescence, her best friend, her brother and her aunt who’d taken the two of them in after their parents died. The movie was about how those people were affected by receiving the cards. And, of course, there was romance.

I have a similar attitude toward cozy mysteries. They aren’t quite as predictable as Hallmark movies, but one hallmark(!) of them is that the killer is identified at the end and brought to justice and the world is righted once more. It doesn’t bother me if I can figure out who did it before the end of the story (this isn’t always the case, btw). I just enjoy the journey that brings me to the unmasking of the killer.

I used to fret a whole lot about how to hide the killer in my own books, but not so much anymore. I know there will be those who figure it out right away and those who don’t. Don’t get me wrong, I still am saddened when the former happens and I mentally pump my fists in the air when it’s the latter.

What’s really most important to me now is the reader’s journey. I try to set scenes in interesting places with interesting and fun characters and to put in twist and turns that surprise people. Because I think for a whole lot of readers, including me, it’s all about the journey.


Susan D said...

Now THAT sounds like a watchable Christmas romance to me....

Because, honestly, the premise of the two I started watching (briefly) began with obsessive shopoholics swooning over expensive shoes and dresses. Somehow, I don't care if either of them ever discovers the true meaning of Christmas....

Sybil Johnson said...

Some are much better than others. I can usually tell within the first couple minutes if it's something I want to see.