In my opinion, it appears that several factors helped drive this franchising phenomenon: cheap meals, fast meals, and slick marketing. The first and last factors aside, what interests me at the moment is our need these days to have everything 'right now'. Just as we don't like having to wait too long to wolf down our burgers, we also don't like to wait for much of anything else, such as (to name just a few):
- for our internet pages to load
- languishing in a telephone queue (or any sort of queue, for that matter)
- to get our tax cheque in the mail, or deposited into our account
- for the latest movie to be released
- snail mail
- for the results from our latest assignment/exam/medical tests
- the interminable wait to see if our manuscript has been accepted by an agent or publisher
- waiting for..... (insert your pet peeve here).
You get the picture. We don't like to wait. I'm sure it has something to do with our genetic make-up, as young children are the worst.
As I mentioned in my post last week, it's the school holidays, and I've promised to take my four energetic youngsters to see Cars 2 at the cinemas. Unfortunately, I made the fatal mistake of telling them about it prior to the longed-for event, which is planned for tomorrow.
A little word of advice here for parents (and parents-of-the-future, for that matter): don't tell your kids until the second before, prior to embarking on an exciting adventure/activity. Any earlier than that and you're just setting yourself up for uminaginable heckling: "Are we going to see Cars 2 tomorrow, Mum?" "What time are we going, Mum?" "How many hours left 'til we go, Mum?"
I'm seriously considering purchasing a set of earplugs. Or three sets (one for my husband and our babysitter, too).
All this musing about the 'microwave' generation of today has got me thinking about how this applies to writing - or more specifically, readers. If people these days are more likely to read a short blog than a book, a magazine than a manuscript, or a newspaper over a novel, then the onus is on us writers to adapt.
Of course, there's the meteoric rise of the e-book, allowing readers everywhere to instantly download copies of their favourite reading material, from online ezines to the classics.
It will be interesting to observe how popular fiction evolves in response to this need to have, and do, everything quickly. Already, action-infused crime and thriller novels regularly top the charts, as do heart-pounding romances. And while some writers may be able to go against the flow regarding novel length, such as JK Rowling with her weighty Harry Potter tomes, will we also begin to see a dominance of shorter novels lining bookstore shelves (or online e-book stores)?
Maybe. But it's my opinion that of more importance than book length will be the style of the writing itself. More than ever before, there is now a need for tight plotlines, realistic and well-developed characters, and snappy dialogue. Taking until the third chapter to hook the reader just isn't going to cut it anymore. Neither are jarring point-of-view slips, anaemic characters, or 'telling' rather than 'showing'.
Movies are no different. To hold the attention of cinema-goers these days, they are brighter, bolder, and faster than ever before - not to mention coming out of the screen at you in 3D.
I'm expecting Cars 2 tomorrow to follow this formula. But unfortunately (for this impatient Yours Truly), I'm just going to have to wait and see. :)
Feel free to share your waiting 'pet peeve' on my Facebook page.