author C.C.Cole's blog

Sunday, March 23, 2014

On the Love of Intrigue

"House of Cards

So many aspects of stories reel in the readers of books or viewers of films or shows, be it action, fantasy, drama, horror, but on the short list of it all is the lure of intrigue, when we must know what happens next and a few hours sleep or loads of laundry won’t stop us.  Many daytime television dramas I recall watching as a kid not missing them so much when school started, but during summer I hated missing what would happen the “next episode,” far before my mature days of speculation.

Being an unapologetic fan of gangster films like “Goodfellas” and “Casino” I’ll admit intrigue glues me to the screen and served as migraine headache companions many years ago.  Other films like the Dutch film “Black Book” kept me on the end of my seat, and as shown, political intrigue, when done well, reels me in when the Machiavellian lead character sticks to the rules of the Prince and takes his (or her) hits but manages to come out on top in the long run, by any means possible.

Intrigue, I believe is what makes series so popular, even if the story isn’t the cloak-and-dagger secrets waiting to come out.  We just want to know what happens next, which is part of intrigue.  During the Harry Potter mania, I remembered exactly when I started reading the final book, stopping only for short bathroom breaks until finished.  When “The White Queen” series came out, my poor kindle was on almost non-stop the weekend I ate all three novels the show was based upon.  I consider myself a very impatient reader, so once I start a book, I consider myself already finished it; everything in between are words keeping me from finishing it.  If I miss something, it’s time for a re-read.

For books to be intriguing I don’t believe they require being a series, being gangster or political stories, or Machiavellian lead characters.  What I like is for the story to make me turn the page.  Usually writers will achieve that with their strengths; some write great action, others write great character development, others write great non-fiction, and we all know some are great at it all.  I say, go for it, and tell us about it.  The readers decide.

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