I like movies as much as anyone, but I don’t often take the time to see them. Although, I’ve seen several lately. Some were extremely well written, and some were very poorly written (no, I’m not telling titles—you’ll have to figure that out on your own).
The well written movies had high tension levels, strong suspension of disbelief, identifiable characters, and plots with unexpected twists and turns.
On the other hand, the poorly written ones moved slowly, weren’t believable for one reason or another, had characters that were difficult to connect with, and a plot that didn’t fulfill the viewers’ expectations.
What’s the difference? Well, in the case of two of my recently viewed movies, several million dollars in ticket sales. But even more than that, fans that walked away either stimulated and satisfied, or feeling like they wasted their ticket money.
Notice I didn’t bring up the big-budget/small-budget comparison. It’s because I believe small budget movies can be well written as often as big-budget movies are poorly written. It’s a mixed bag.
One thing we can do to assure we don’t end up on the bottom end of the spectrum is to fact check and research. Especially real life scenarios. If law enforcement plays a big role in your storyline, talk to a law enforcement official. If your story draws on medical science, talk a doctor to or research the relevant subjects. If there is a strong historical side to your story, make sure your story is set in the right time and that you have given your characters the right tools.
I’m not saying you have to get everything exactly right. Just make it believable to the reader or viewer.
What other things can we do to assure that our stories are the best they can be?