Is There an Easy Genre of Film to Write?

Although, like any form of writing, easy is purely subjective; it seems like some genres are easier to write than others. I don’t know about most people, but for me relationship-based melodramas and horror stories are the easiest.

When I go to write a melodrama, I tend to go about it by layering one emotional complication or complicated, tragic event atop another. For example:

Liz
“Oh, George! I realize you’re on your death bed, but why must you still refuse to marry me?”

George
“Liz, my mother poisoned me to keep me from marrying you. You see, you are my sister!”

I’m not saying this is a well-written melodrama. But it’s probably on par with the run-of-the-mill stuff that ends up in TV and movies these days.

If anything, horror is probably easier to write than melodrama. Especially gross out horror, the lowest form there is. For example:

Liz
“Oh no, George. We seem to be trapped in this domicile in the woods, or possibly a desert, maybe even a house in a suburban neighborhood. What’s that noise? It’s coming closer! George! Aarrgh!!!”

George
“Liz? You’re not Liz!”

George’s POV: a chainsaw or other similar weapon flies toward George. With a spray of blood and gore, the screen goes red. The next morning, a couple stranded on the road, probably wanted by the authorities, enters the domicile to find portions of George and Liz festooned about the living room furniture and oozing down the walls. Our heroes are too stupid to return to their car so they decide to stay in one of the less messy rooms. With this, a pattern of slow torment, eventually leading to the same fate suffered by George and Liz, begins again.

This is not to say that complex, thoughtful, and well written horror and melodrama films do not exist. Actually, a lot of films tend to be hybridizations of horror and melodrama – generally with one aspect of the story being better written than the other. Backdraft was a good example of this. Although most of the film was a melodrama, I think the firefighting portions of the film qualify as horror. In many scenes, the fire seems to act like a classical monster in one of those cheesy drive-in flicks from the 1950s – with greatly improved special-effects.

Many modern filmmakers seem to be taking a crack at producing great quantities of action and comedy films. But the fact that so many of them are heavy on the melodrama leads me to believe that writing good, solid action movies is probably a lot harder than it seems.Car chases and gunfights are easy enough to write, but the dialogue and story that give these scenes their meaning tend to fall flat if they are too thinly premised. Comedy doesn’t take a great deal of thought, but it does take quick wit and occasionally some very abstract thinking.

Naturally, I realize the folly of making such broad generalizations – and the fact that there are exceptions to every rule. Every so often, however, it’s useful to do a bit of stream-of-consciousness writing as it frees up my brain for more productive thoughts. After all, isn’t that largely what weblogs are for in the end?

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