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What The Movie Clue Teaches Us About A Synopsis

Writers tend to see the world a little differently. I find myself critiquing movies that my husband watches and problem solving it the same way I problem solve my own writing. (No, the killer really should have been the little girl, and people don’t really use names that often in regular speech…)

Over the weekend we watched Clue together. When Wadsworth, played by Tim Curry, began explaining the whodunit I sat there, blinked, and then yelled out, “Synopsis!”

Because this is, ultimately, what Wadsworth is doing. He’s running through the entire plot, stopping at the key points, and ignoring the rest. He’s also talking a mile a minute, so I’m sure his “synopsis” still needs some trimming.

Think about it. Not only is he explaining everything that happened, we’re riveted. Glued to the screen, because the audience wants to know who did it just as much as the characters on screen. (Side note, we watched the ending first, wrote down who killed who, and then paid attention in each scene. Each killer explained their own actions in real time, and most used the weapon they were given at the beginning of the film. My husband and I were laughing at how obvious it was and yet able to fool us each time.)

The words, the delivery, are entertaining. He’s not telling us who looked down Yvette’s maid uniform, because everyone did. He’s finding the key plot points that led to the murders, the driving points of the movie, and telling us only these points.

Clever. I may need to pretend to be Wadsworth the next time I write a synopsis. My new motto? What Would Wadsworth Do? (WWWD?). Hhmmm, it has potential.



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