Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Writing Wednesday: Disproportionate Responses

There's that old saying that the punishment should fit the crime.  In books, TV, movies, etc that's not always the case, is it?  Think of that famous Twilight Zone episode with Burgess Meredith where he survives a nuclear blast in a bank vault because he went down there to read so no one would give him shit about it.  Now the last man on Earth (or his neck of the woods) he finds a bunch of books and gleefully says, "There's time now!  All the books I want!"  And then his glasses fall off and the lenses break.  D'OH!  I always feel bad because really what did the poor guy do to be tortured like that?  He just wanted to read some goddamned books.

A bad review for my book My Wife Changed Me Into a Pinup Girl was titled, "he loved her, so she tortured him."  A succinct, albeit inaccurate way to describe the plot.  I described the plot in my P A to Z Challenge post.  The gist is that an old woman gets a couple of magic crystals and uses them to turn her husband into a 60s pinup girl he had been ogling in an antiques shop.

Now is being turned into a sexy young woman really a proportionate response for him checking out a hot chick on an old magazine cover?  I don't think anyone would say that it is.  Then again is going from a 70-something-year-old guy to that girl on the cover really such a punishment?  We should all be "tortured" like that.

Admittedly after that the wife lets her newfound power go to her head a bit and does a few other things to the husband to act out some naughty bedroom fantasies.  You could think of it as releasing 30 years of pent-up sexual frustration.  Still, probably not a proportionate response.

I can think of two other recent responses.  In another bad review, someone complained about my book Transformed Into a Pregnant Girl that the nasty woman who turned her boyfriend into a pregnant girl didn't show him any mercy.  To which my response would be, well he did kinda strangle her to death.  So, you know, you die and make a deal with the devil to come back to life, you might not be in the most forgiving mood either.

A more recent example would be Transformed for Mother's Day.  Every year Joe's wife gets super-duper pissed-off on Mother's Day because she can't have any babies.  So this year Joe decides he's going to sneak out for a little fishing before she can wake up.  That's when she reveals that she's a witch and decides to make Joe into her cute daughter Jo to have the perfect Mother's Day.

Does ditching your wife on Mother's Day really deserve being turned into a young girl and forced to do things like make her breakfast in bed and pictures out of macaroni and glitter?  Yeah, probably not.

But then if characters were all sane and rational, where would you get any drama?  If Burgess Meredith can just sit around reading books, then where's the message about Man's folly in destroying himself with nuclear weapons?

Sometimes you just have to go nuclear.


  1. I can see that being sweet revenge in some cases

  2. Crazy characters can be interesting. I agree you have to go for the drama.



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