Tuesday, June 15, 2010
My husband and I watch many TV crime dramas together. We both enjoy "Lie To Me," "In Plain Sight," and "The Good Wife," for example, but we take an entirely different approach to the episodes.
From the start, I try to figure out who did it, and I have to "get" every single nuance of plot, every allusion.
My husband sits back and enjoys the interaction of the ensemble. If he misses a reference or can't keep straight exactly who "Mr. Borden" is with respect to "Mary," he lets it go.
I set the TiVo into replay until I have the relationships and names clearly in my head. "Oh, Mr. Borden is Mary's father-in-law, the lawyer," I report.
On an old "Law & Order" (sorry to see it go!), in an early scene, a woman, the viewpoint character, is pushing a baby carriage, but the camera doesn't show you the baby. Then 5 minutes later, in another scene, the baby's aunt tells someone, "I haven't seen my little niece in months."
Too easy. "There was no baby in that carriage," I blurt out. "The baby died, or else the woman miscarried and is delusional."
Sure enough, the baby had died, and in a manner that was the crux of the story.
"How did you know that?" my husband asks, making it clear that he doesn't want such powers.
I'm not smarter; I just work harder at detecting.
Whether it's a TV show, a movie, or a book, I'm in there trying to figure out the conflict, the arc, the ending.
I can't remember if I was this way before I started writing mysteries. Maybe it's an occupational hazard. To some extent, it spoils my ability to sit back and enjoy someone else's story.
But if I enjoy the detecting process, maybe it doesn't matter.
What kind of reader or viewer are you? Do you sit back and enjoy, or get involved in detecting?