A term I just came up with.
I think this may be part of why I dislike reading sword and sorcery / fantasy screenplays… for some reason, with those babies, logic is often gaily tossed to the four winds. At least that’s the case when my students write in that genre. And my clients. And some movies that get made.
Seems that if you’re writing a searing personal drama about a woman whose husband dies and she has to get the cotton crop in… all logic is there and workable. She doesn’t plant the cotton and then have horrible boll weevils and suddenly (right at the opportune moment!) remember her Grandmother’s wonderful boll weevil elixir hidden in the back of the icebox… that asinine method of solving problems is rare in dramas.
But not in fantasy.
Just because it’s fantasy, doesn’t mean it isn’t real. You’re creating a real world with real rules, and you (and the characters) must follow them. All the time.
So no “As Needed Gifts.”
Do not give your character a boon just because he needs one right then in order for the plot to move forward. Do not give him a special skill that has never been mentioned up to now, just because he needs it right now! If he needs to levitate on page 45, show him playing with his little sister, levitating in the back yard, on page 5.
Do not suddenly have him know how to repair WWII clocks, right when he finds a clock that doesn’t work. Have it be his only hobby from page one. Do not suddenly have him know how to play sitar, right when he is about to be murdered by sitar carrying thugs.
If he has a gift, a skill, a tool, a talent… make sure we know about it early, then forget about it until that gift is needed. In real life, in drama, and in (I swear!) fantasy stories, nothing can be there the instant you need it, unless it was there all along.
Check your script and get rid of all As Needed Gifts! Let me know if you find some…