What’s My Line?


My husband and I play a game sometimes when we’re watching a movie we’ve never seen before. I was the one to start initiating this little game.

At first, he told me, “Stop it, Honey. That’s not funny. Hush.”

But then, somewhere along way, he started to play along.

This game usually takes place during a pause in dialogue, at a poignant point of the movie.

I do my best to guess the line that comes next. When I’m right, I get to gloat.

As I said, at first my husband objected, pooh-poohing my skill to guess the next line.

Then, something interesting happened. He started to play along. Here’s what happens.

 The music swells, the two characters pause at the edge of peril, whatever that may be.

The hero looks at his heroine and says, “I’ll go one from here. Alone. Without you.”

She clutches his hand.

(Wait for it: This is when I guess the line I think she’ll say next: “No, you’ll always have me.”)

She blinks and says, “No. Never alone. You’ll always have me.”

Score! Close enough. Not verbatim, but close enough. And then, my husband and I high-five.

He smiles and looks at me. “Ah, the fun of watching a movie with a writer.”

Predictability can be a good thing. Sometimes it’s fun to know what comes next in a book, especially if a character doesn’t. If we know, it can up the tension, especially if the character is walking straight into danger and they don’t know it.

Predictability can be a bad thing. If we already know too much about what happens next, we can yawn, start thinking about supper, or put the book down.

What do you think? What’s good and bad about a story or a scene being predictable?

– – – – –

Lynette Sowell writes fiction for the inspirational market, from contemporary romance to mysteries. She’s always looking for the perfect recipe for a story–or a great dish–and is always up for a Texas road trip.

This entry was posted in Honored Alumni, Lynette Sowell, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to What’s My Line?

  1. Maureen Lang says:

    I love your game, Lynette! I’m sure it would annoy my family, too, until they could predict their own win. 🙂

    And I love this topic. Predictability is one of those balancing act things. As a reader, I always feel so smart when I can predict what’s coming. Of course, my favorite genre is Inspirational romance so everyone knows the hero and heroine will end up together. But as far as micro-predicting, that’s when it gets more fun. I love it when a writer surprises me, but even is he/she doesn’t, if I like the story and characters well enough I call the book a complete success even if it is predictable.

    But I do recall having had more than one book rejected for predictability, so editors do try to bring fresh ideas to the market. That’s another balancing act! Publishers want something new, yet not so different that they can’t predict how it’ll sell!

    Ah, life is a balancing act in so many ways, isn’t it!


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