Wednesday, June 20, 2007

How to write a blockbuster . . .

I'm not a big fan of the Left Behind series. After reading the first six books, I lost interest. At the time, I attributed it to the fact that the story was being stretched out too thin in order to sell more books. I guess you can't blame them for that and who can argue with the success. But I will also admit that I didn't think the writing was all that good. To Jerry Jenkins credit, he admits that he's not a great writer and will never impress anyone with his prose. There's a lesson in this I suppose: a good story will trump mediocre writing.

( Side note: I thoroughly enjoyed his book Writing for the Soul. Although he borrowed heavily from Dean Koontz's How to Write Best Selling Fiction. I'm not criticizing - Mr. Jenkins admits this throughout the book. That's what I like about him - he seems to be a very upfront and down to earth. )

Butttt . . . What drew me to the Left Behind series in the first place? I'm not a bandwagon jumper. The reason is - because until recently - I've never understood the book of Revelations. I avoided it like the plague. It just didn't seem to fit in the rest of the New Testament - especially the four gospels.

But here in story form, someone was going to explain it to me. Well, count me in. That's the appeal. Most Christians don't understand the book of Revelation and were looking for something easier to understand than the professor-like and confusing dissertations that most of the so-called experts offer.

Bingo! That's how you write a blockbuster.

So, like the rest of Christendom, I ran out, bought a copy, and started reading. But, alas, I was still not satisfied. I just can't seem to accept the scenario as outlined in Left Behind. So I have decided to launch a fresh investigation into Revelation. ( more on that later )

Now, lets look at another blockbuster - The Davinci Code.

The reverse happened with D-code, the skeptical on the fence general public yearned for something to back up their spineless stance. Holy Blood, Holy Grail didn’t explode because it wasn’t a novel. Thus - the power of fiction shines again.

I believe that the readers of The Davinci Code and The Left Behind series ( at least the ones I have met ) were people who don't read novels on a regular basis. In both cases, the public opted for a story to explain vague concepts that they couldn't grasp through lecture.

On one hand, as an aspiring novelist, this realization of the power of fiction is exciting. But, on the other hand, it terrifies me - Because millions had to be constantly reminded that The Davinci Code is FICTION. And just in case you were wondering - so is Left Behind.

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