How I like entertainment

I’ve come to notice why I like games. Though this also applies to books and television. I’ve come to especially notice the styles and what I do and don’t like, and just how much they relate to my patience. I’ve found I’m not an enjoy-the-journey person, nor am I a completion-is-everything person.

I want a journey and completion, and then a new game/book/show to follow with another journey/completion. If the journey takes too long I get antsy waiting for the completion. If the completion comes too soon then I’m annoyed at how short the journey was.

Half-hour TV shows are bad, they are just too short. 45 minute shows are pretty good, they have a decent length journey and wrap it up well due to having the time.

Movies are a big deal, they are all about pacing. You get the pacing right and a long movie can be very, very enjoyable. But when I thing of a movie, anything that doesn’t push past the hour twenty-five mark feels like it’s cutting short, even though it may be just fine story-wise.

Which is why I find it interesting some of my favorite books are incredibly long. I find them an interesting contrast to the relatively short Nero Wolfe mysteries. But in essence, they are the same thing, both feeding the journey and conclusion loop I love. Because there’s another part to it. I like similarity in the next journey. In other words, I want the same characters going on new journeys and having new conclusions.

I’m happy with the Nero Wolfe books because there are 30 for me to read, and 40+ in existence, not counting the ones written by other authors. So I get to read a story, see it’s conclusion, and immediately jump into another one.

Not having that “another one” is a feeling I know well. Something ends, and you want another, but there is no other. It’s probably when I get an especially large dose of it that I switch mentally to another format.

I have different modes I switch through, sometimes months at a time in one or another. Game, reading, watching. I’ve gotten better about mixing them together, but there are times, sometimes months on end, where all I want to do of the three is watch TV instead of play games or read. (This is about choosing entertainment, by the way, not choosing an entire way of life and abandoning all else. Just whether I want to do all, some, or simply am only in the mood to read things for entertainment.)

How about those very long books I like? Well that’s actually quite easy. Even though they are half-million word monsters, the journeys inside are multi-faceted. They concern heroes going on adventures. They are like the old final fantasy / breath of fire / etc. games where there is one overarching plot, but several things standing in the way. Each their own journey and completion on the road to getting to that final major plot. It feeds into the loop and the desire for things to keep on going with the characters you are attached to.

This is partly why newer games that come out that are praised for length if they last a whole 10 hours thoroughly annoy me. Sure, lets get through 6 hour and a half levels instead of, oh, 20 half-hour levels… no thank you.

Which reminds me – Portal (one) may be rather short as well, but it did things like this well. You had a small puzzle, completion, new puzzle, overarching plot, and then an exciting climax. Portal (two) had its own merits, but in some ways it took too long.

Where am I getting with this? No where really. Just that I have a better understanding of what I like and why, and that it’s interesting this is why I prefer to write a series (Together with Silver) instead of several individual books. I don’t even have an idea of others, since the series is consuming.

I live and breathe series.

About James Ashman

I write books of the fantasy, heroic, and adventure types. So far. I'm an author who loves fantastic stories.
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