The horse stood calmly while the little girl leaped expertly into the saddle. Even though she’d never ridden, ever, she gripped the reins and sat in the saddle like a pro. She grinned while her grandpa pleaded with her to take it slowly to begin with. She was after all slightly handicapped, as well as totally inexperienced. But she wheeled the horse around toward the wide-open field and galloped off.
I blinked. Twice. Oh really? The movie had also displayed a few rather ridiculous horse training methods (ie. describing to the horse in a stern voice what was required of it), but the UK countryside scenery and the gorgeous images of the horses held me captive. Until the episode with the little girl, that is. After that, I began to doubt the validity of the rest of the research done for the movie.
Seriously? Couldn’t Steven Spielberg have consulted just one horse-training expert before he made the movie War Horse?
This is exactly why I, as a child, steered clear of all horse books like Black Beauty, The Black Stallion and Misty. I had been raised with horses so I could smell an equestrian fiction fudger three paddocks away. Now I’m not saying these classics aren’t good books, I’m just saying that they cater most often to the general public and not to experienced horse people.
We all know that as fiction writers we must adhere to the rules we conjure for our setting. We may be writing fantasy, but as long as our world’s rules are taken into account, the sky’s the limit for composing stories in that particular setting. So why do even the best writers and movie producers still try to cheat in their plots? Why do they spend the time and money producing stories that have plot holes? I just don’t understand.
Another favourite example of mine of fiction fudging is the use of knocking a character out. If a writer needs someone in their story to be out of commission for a little while, all a fiction fudger has to do is bop the character on the head and there you have it – instant time out for said character.
Now, I’m no expert, but as a hockey mom, I’m all too familiar with the side-effects of concussion. Even when someone isn’t completely knocked out, they can suffer often for months with debilitating repercussions from getting their ‘bells rung’ (as we hockey moms called it).
Over the thanksgiving weekend, my kids brought home armloads of movies to watch. One of them was Jurassic Park 3. There was a scene as they drew near to the jungle island in a plane, where the famous Dr. Alan Grant is adamant that they do not land on the horrifically dinosaur-infested island. A bop on the head and Dr. Grant is conveniently out of commission for about 15 minutes while they land the plane. Easy right? And he had no nasty side-effects in the least!
My brother was knocked out for about 30 seconds a while back and he took a year approximately to get back to normal (ish). So no one is going to put that little plot tool by me!
Am I the only one who detests these little plot cheats? Are there fiction fudgings that you detest as well?
How about when the big, burly, buff guy pops his dislocated shoulder back into place, rolls his arm around a little and then hurls himself back in the fray? I never realized how unrealistic that was until Hubby had a shoulder incident at work and it took months for him to regain mostly-full use of his arm.
I’d guess these are the types of situations where ignorance is bliss. But I have to share something about your horse experience. When I was 12 or so, I went through a horse phase, even begging for lessons from my parents but we weren’t able to afford them. So I read a series – The Saddle Club. Now I definitely can’t attest to their accuracy but I believed them and memorized the instructions and tips, living vicariously through the characters. Several years later, my youth group went to a small ranch and had the chance to, one at a time, ride their horses around the paddock. I remembered all those rules and carefully tried to follow them (heels down, sit straight, etc.) and had the thrill of the lady who was leading the horse ask me if I was sure I’d never been on a horse before. 😉
LikeLiked by 1 person
Ha ha, or what about the times when the good guy is racing away from all the marksmen bad guys with machine guns and nary a bullet grazes our hero!
So glad to hear of your equestrian experience!! I do admit, there are some really good books out there on horseback riding now, but back then? Not so much. Maybe you are a natural too! Methinks you should take it up, as I have seen some really amazing riders who learned to ride in half the time.
While I can’t think of any really good, specific examples at the moment, I too hate when things work out too conveniently. Very often, I struggle with how a story gets all tied up, nice and neat way too easily. Bugs the snot out of me when boom, we figure out who did it, all the insanely huge problems are solved, etc., etc., in way too short a time span. WHEW… don’t get me going! 🙂
I totally get what you are saying! It’s like if it was a movie, they ran out of money and time, or if it’s a book, they ran into a maximum word count. Unfortunately life does’t happen quite like that!!