We all have our story weaknesses. It could be a word or a theme or a time period, and as soon as we see those in a synopsis or description, we’re immediately bamboozled into buying whatever movie, book, or video game promises these fixes. I am not immune to this. At all.
I mean your good old-fashioned, classic, slightly cheesy, maybe a little melodramatic but always swashbuckling fare. Think Indiana Jones or The Mummy in paperback form. (which, by the way, are fantastically entertaining because they are so clearly inspired by the very books I’m talking about.)
THE LOST WORLD
JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH
KING SOLOMON’S MINES
THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL
JOHN CARTER OF MARS
THE MARK OF ZORRO
They are just so fun. Anything with archaeology + danger is my favorite thing, unless it’s extinct-creatures-that-surprise!-aren’t-quite-as-extinct-as-we-thought, which is also my favorite thing. And don’t get me started on vigilante heroes in disguise, which is really a big weakness. Also, twist reveals and vintage-but-futuristic technology are some of my favorite aspects of such novels as well. They don’t make ’em like these anymore. (also why I have zilch interest in the new Mummy movie, because what is the point if it’s not set in the 1920s and full of scenes like this? Why mess with perfection?)
Crazy-Thick Victorian Novels
Oh, the long sentences and the gloriously improbable coincidences and the heavy doses of morality. Also, there is a heavier dosage of snark than most people give them credit for. I love it. (also, the below gif is from Cranford, which is possibly my favorite period drama, but also possibly one of my least favorite Victorian novels, so go figure.)
Anything Art Deco + British
I prefer my 1920s and 30s glam with a dash of murder. Or a silver cow creamer. I’m not picky.
But adding a British accent or two, well, that just makes it better.
Probably pretty obvious from my published writing. Beauty and the Beast will always be my favorite above all favorites, but there are so many other good ones: Rapunzel, King Thrushbeard, The Wild Swans, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella…the list goes on and on and I will probably keep reading them forever.
What are your story weaknesses?