HOW TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE CANS IN OUR STORIES
I apologize to all of my faithful blog followers. I have not been active in the blogosphere for the past two weeks because my job has me doing some training. This is why I’m flying. I’m currently in another city, trying to keep my blog up-to-date while also fighting to keep up with the 1,000 Word Blitz.
That said, yesterday was a bit sinister. I know. I began with an idea, and I’ll certainly finish it today. I wanted you to see that even in extended prose there can be tension building up, and remember, this is nonfiction.
At 32,000 feet, the Aluminum Can moment has just occurred. Remember that yesterday’s post described how I had to flash my ID several times before I could attempt to get on the plane. This was combined with me scanning my boarding pass twice.
So, here I am, on the plane, and the attendants are giving out drinks. (Also note that I’m writing two blogs in one sitting here). I typically get an orange juice, and these are served in cans — aluminum cans, mind you.
Ever since 911, airlines have amped up security, substantially, but they’ve forgotten one final thing. Sure, I can’t carry my own bottles of liquid onto the plane, and sharp objects are a no-no. I was once asked to get rid of a safety-pin. But here I am, 32,000 feet above the earth, and the attendants have just dropped a lethal weapon into my lap.
What happened? I simply asked for an orange juice in a can, and they gave it to me without thinking twice.
How difficult would it be to forge one of these seemingly harmless drink containers into aerial spear of disaster?
This said, what is an Aluminum Can moment? This is the moment in the story where you may have to dumb down your security so that the story progresses. While I certainly do not encourage this, I also don’t demean it.
Literature and films are littered with Aluminum cans (pun intended). In The Hunger Games, once Katnis got the bow, she could have dominated the entire games. But she didn’t. It’s an Aluminum Can. Sure. Go ahead and tell me that she didn’t want to hurt anyone, blah blah blah. I disagree. The book is set up to the point where she would do anything for her sister. Bow equals domination.
Dark Knight. The guy gets in the Joker’s cell, and the man has a cell phone bomb in his stomach that has been jaggedly sewn up inside of him. Well, who would have preformed the surgery for that man, and how many weeks would it have taken for that man to be on his feet and walking again with that kind of wound? Dark Knight has a lot of Aluminum Cans, but we all still love the movie. And if you’re like me, you’re eagerly awaiting The Dark Knight Rises.
All I’m saying about these cans is this: make sure that your flight attendants give you a can and not a knife. These little overlooks can quickly become plot holes if we don’t stifle them quickly.
Remember, the reader will remain engaged as long as your characters are experiencing the believable. Too many “miracles” will result in a dull story and unreadable story.