One of my favorite movies is An American Werewolf in London. John Landis, I feel, did a pretty damn good job of revisiting the old classic monster. The monster was not romanticized as werewolves appear to be now (bare-chested monkey-boys wooing milquetoast teen girls). The underlying theme is not so much just a horror movie, but a disquieted study in something that destroys the normalcy of two average young men, and causing a tsunami of terrible consequences for everyone within a 20 mile radius of them. As a writer, I love the underlying tragic theme because it makes the main characters deeper and more profound than what their normalcy would dictate if left alone – however, Landis, as a storyteller, begs much suspension of disbelief from his audience for his premise to work. For example, the main plot-hole I find is why the main character remains in London. These are normal people; they would go home after such tragic events on the moor where one boy is murdered. Instead, in Landis’ script, we have the MC wandering around London detached with nothing more to hold him there other than the cute nurse he’s met in the hospital.
Why am I telling you this?
Good writing, good visualization, means nothing if the plot is tenuous and built on your reader’s suspension of disbelief. Most speculative fiction works demand much – too much – and often miss the mark of a very important and classic literary work. It might work out all right in a movie, however, the plot holes become apparent in afterthought, that is, if the audience doesn’t think too much. Classic speculative fiction pieces like Frankenstein and Salem’s Lot work when the characters and motivations therein are well-thought-out and rounded. In other words, when they make sense.