Friday, 31 August 2007

Queue 2

Okay, hands up, it's a fair cop guv'nor: I watched EastEnders this evening.
Been thinking long and pericardially about the previous post. Have some tenuous conclusions which need refining, but for now here's an absolutely superb scene from EastEnders. Crumbs, that just sounds so wrong. I might get some character names muddled, and I might just invent some if I get stuck. If you're waiting for Sunday's Omnibus extravaganza, I offer you a spoiler alert, and my sympathy.

Phil Daniels has gotten hold of a stolen security videotape. It's wound to the end. Kind of like a cross between Memento and Quadrophenia. He's astonished to discover that the videotape has captured Patrick's attack - there is poor Patrick lying in his brains and blood. Well, not brains. So Phil Daniels starts to rewind the tape. Events unfold in reverse as we move back in time towards the attack and, presumably, a clear picture of the attacker. Ooh, now that's good suspense.
Meanwhile, Lucy sneaks out the house to go meet her boyfriend. I don't know if we were told that she was off to meet her boyfriend or if I just guessed that. See I was only half-watching and perked up when I saw this scene developing.
Phil Daniels rewinds a little further and Lucy arrives at her rendezvous.
Then we see the attacker. Then we see that Lucy has met with her boyfriend - the attacker!

So we can see that the reveal is left right until the end. Which is a parallel to option TWO in the previous post.
We also have the suspense in the shape of the rewinding of the tape. Rather like option ONE where the reader is darned sure that the couple are heading into trouble.

So, to get the most out of the car crash/you're having an affair scene, we would keep the reveal to the end, AND ensure that the speeding is given lethal intent from the start. Therefore, it should open with a line that clearly attaches suspense to the speeding without giving away the driver's knowledge of the affair. The new opening might read thus:

Bill ran the red light, tyres screeching as he attacked the bend. It was time to end it all.

The anticipation strand is obvious in both the car crash scene and in the EastEnders scene.
What is perhaps less obvious is the effect of holding the reveal 'til the last possible moment.
You can ponder upon that and I'll return very soon.


R1X said...

Brilliant spot there Solvey, especially since i just so happen to be watching Quadrophenia at this very moment - oh Serendipity strikes! Anyhoo, I will pay attention on my rewrite of my opening chapter... not to Phil Daniels though. He's not invited (PARK LIFE!) Ta.

solv said...

Quadrophenia is my sick day film: if I'm bug-stricken and confined to the space between the sofa and a duvet, I usually watch Quadrophenia. I find it very comforting, like tomato soup.
Don't tell Jack, but it opens with a sunset! (Yes, that still plagues me and I can still justify my sunset opening in many ways :o)