Monday, June 7, 2010

The KEWL Factor

Somtime during the writing of RABBIT SLAYER I wrote a sort of short story based on the my characters. The story originally was the opening sequence before I morphed it into an event that would occur AFTER the story. Either way I felt it was cool. Lots of action and was filled with graphic descriptions. On a whim I sent it to an English teacher for his opinion. After reading the story he introduced me to the KEWL factor.

KEWL, as he put it, is writing a scene for the reason of being cool - or desiring a shock value. When the writer places more attention and description on the action than on the rest of the piece (s)he had introduced the KEWL factor. It's an interesting concept and one I have tried to keep aware of since then. You'll see kewl in many high action or high graphical effect movies. Tim Burton's new adaptation of Carroll's classic is an example of where the visuals over shadowed the story. The movie went from cool to kewl.

Recently I have been reading others work in my online critque groups. I enjoy a good action book - one of my favorite geners - but I have been seeing more kewl than cool. It is easy to picture writers salivating as they write these supercharged, adreniline filled scenes with little attention to story itself. Blowing shit up my look cool in Hollywood, but in a book there should be a reason for why the explosion occurs. Let's face facts here - shooting a gas tank in a car with a pistol will not create a massive fire ball that will burn down a half the city. THAT is KEWL not COOL.

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