Give ’em what you say you will… The Virginian sets up and doesn’t pay off!!!!

Reading the classic western, The Virginian, by Owen Wister. One of the most influential books, ever. It helped establish the Myth of the American West and led to lots and lots of employment for Hollywood writers. Yeah!

The Virginian is the hero. Trampas is the bad guy. Their conflict lasts for the entire book. It’s intense, epic, and a good ride.

Here are the two pages of the climax… I had to read it THREE TIMES to realize what actually happened.

It was so a non-event, I was stunned. “A wind seemed to blow his sleeve off his arm, and he replied to it…” THAT IS THE CLIMACTIC SHOOTOUT at the end of a 484 page effort? That’s IT? It is nothing, nothing, nothing. And it isn’t even clear. You go through an entire story, assuming that at the end there is going to be a marvelously satisfying conclusion… and you get a waft of air and a reply? That is not the way to tell a story.

When you set something up in your story, be sure that you pay it off at the end! Give the audience what they sat there patiently waiting for. As Blake Snyder says, give them the “promise of the premise.” Please.

virginian p 1

virginian p 2

Advertisements

3 Comments

Filed under Bad Writing, Details

3 responses to “Give ’em what you say you will… The Virginian sets up and doesn’t pay off!!!!

  1. Rhonda Misson

    Another film that was a dissapointment was Kinky Boots. The last scene which should have been all about the boots, the camera fucused on the fellas wearing them.

  2. Rhonda Misson

    Another film that was a dissapointment was Kinky Boots. The last scene which should have been all about the boots, the camera focused on the fellas wearing them.

    • yourscreenplaysucks

      I remember liking KINKY BOOTS and thinking it was an awful title. Don’t remember the ending, but I do have a vague memory of the whole film being slightly dissatisfying… maybe the end was the culprit.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s