Southern belle with a story to tell. Refreshing iced tea served after literary punches thrown.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

On Craft: Making the Impossible Quite Possible!

Writing wisdom is much like the bacon-y goodness in the photo above, 
in that we should take the advice we need.  I hope the concept of "info-faux-mation
discussed in my post will help you improve your writing.

"Fiction is based on reality unless you’re a fairy-tale artist, you have to get your knowledge of life from somewhere. You have to know the material you’re writing about before you alter it."~Hunter S. Thompson

Happy New Year y'all and welcome back to the grind.  The sparkly lights and glittery ornaments, which diverted our attention away from our mansucripts,  are now packed away along with the other holiday decorations, so there's nothing to keep us from finishing our manuscripts in the new year.  

And today I'm going to teach you a little trick that some of the better Thriller and Syfy authors and screenwriters cleverly place in their works in order to get you to keep watching the flick or flipping pages, and I even have my own crafty name for it ~ "Info-faux-mation".

You might be asking, what the heck is it, so let me illustrate the concept for you in a few short paragraphs and through the use of another vintage James Bond clip. 

Info-faux-mation is the insertion of fake information into a well-known or widely-accepted thought or scientific fact that allows your villain or hero(heroine) to be able to create the wildest of inventions, whether it's a virus that will kill off every human on the planet, or a secret flower growing in the Amazon that can cure cancer, or a new weapons system that will defend our planet against alien invaders.  Or it could be a plot similar to this photo below.  

Could a giant shark attack an Olympic swimmer?  Perhaps, if the story is engineered to be believable.

I touched on this concept a few posts ago, and believe that just the right amount of info-faux-mation woven into your plot is what will keep people glued to their seats in a movie versus running to the theater manager and demanding their money back.  Info-faux-mation is what makes us believe that crazy plan could work.

Now as many of you know, I'm a huge James Bond fan, and one day, this writer-slash-fangirl has a secret dream of becoming the first female to write a Bond book.  Crazy yes, but we all have our diabolical little plans, don't we?  Anyhow, using this classic clip from "The Man With the Golden Gun" (1974) we have a perfect example of the insertion of info-faux-mation into an important scene.  I hope you enjoy it!  It's campy fun, and begins when Bond flies to the bad guy's  tropical island paradise and is greeted by the evil mini-henchman Nick Nack (also known to many as Tattoo from Fantasy Island and yes, it's spelled like that).  After the bottle of champagne is cleverly "popped", he meets the Man with the Golden Gun,  Francisco Scaramanga.  

By the way, you get a bonus point if you figure out why I think this villain has the  

Anyhow, what I want you to do is pretend it's 1974 and you are sitting in the movie theater wearing your leisure suit or  polyester color-block dress and go-go boots and are munching on popcorn while watching this movie for the first time.  How do you feel when you hear the villain tell 007 that his super-weapon, the solex,  is based on the concept of solar power? Do you think audiences back in the day would be totally mesmerized by this evil scheme?  Granted with today's technology,  everything from the "homing system" (a primitive form of g.p.s.) in the seaplane to the gargantuan computers in the evil control room are considered antiquities, but  try to remember when watching that back in 1974, all of this was considered cutting-edge.  

But what would have glued the audience to their seats in 1974 was the whole solar-powered energy concept of the super-secret evil weapon, and that would be because the United States was right in the middle of an energy crisis.

The whole meshing together of the country's energy crisis and the smattering of known science with regard to solar power, gives a  touch of credibility to the scene where Scaramanga unveils his evil plan.  

Side note:  Don't you love it when the villain pontificates in a lengthy description of how they are going to rule/blow up/scam money from all of the world's governments?  I sure do.

You can bet the screenwriters back in the day did their homework studying up on the science of solar power before writing this scene to give it a touch of realism, and that's exactly what we as writers must do for our plots when we create the fantastic.  

Now sit back and relax and enjoy this fun clip from "The Man With the Golden Gun".

Here's the formula they must have used to create the diabolical plot.

Massive energy crisis  + science of solar power + addition of evil weapon = fearful and somehow believable plot.

Now here's how I go about successfully inserting "Info-faux-mation" into my writing :

1)Dream up your amazing new idea/weapon/microbe/whatnot that is going to be integral in your plot.  
2)Whatever science it's based upon, do your research.  Study up on the principle upon which your item is based.
3)Find supporting facts that *could* be useful and apply that known science or theory to your invention and run with it in the plot.
4)Pick the right moment to unveil this new device and use good dialogue and action to make it all feel real and very believable.

What scenes from either a movie or a t.v. series do a great job of incorporating info-faux-mation into the plot?  What are your favorite examples?  


S Jenan said...

It always takes a deft touch to find just the right balance between info and 'infaux'. One thing that I think you have to be careful of is making sure you're not contradicting the current science, but augmenting it. That's why your advice about research is so important. You don't want to step on the toes of reality by not knowing the subject well enough.

It can help to find experts (or at least dedicated amateurs) in the subject you're in-fauxing to check your work.

As to the villain name, I can only assume your maiden name was Joey Scaramanga.

Michelle 4 Laughs said...

Bacon, Bond and writing advice! My kind of article. Love it, Joey!

Joey Francisco said...

@S Jenan: Love love love it! Infaux checking. Once again sir, you made me giggle and think. But of course you're absolutely correct in that your science/research must be augmented to be truly believable. Spot on yet again!

@Michelle4laughs: (still grinning) Thank you Michelle. Glad you liked it.