Monday, June 21, 2010

Creepy's Monday Misdemeanor

Today’s Misdemeanor :             Reckless Driving         
A high speed chase in a book or movie can be a cheap thrill or a buzz kill. I admit, I enjoy the crazy maneuvering- the screeching of wheels and shifting of gears.  And my favorite is when the car ‘flies’ off of some higher surface to land with impossible accuracy on a moving object- like a freight train, boat, or big ass tow truck. 

When the mc’s best friend/lover/mother/father
/sister/goldfish is in absolute danger and the author has made you ADORE this character- the high speed reckless driving scene can be essential to the tension.  You want to grab the wheel and scream FASTER! and have to will yourself not to turn a page or two ahead just to make sure they’re safe. (or maybe that’s just me)

Unfortunately, if I were behind the wheel, I’d probably end up driving my car into some obscure, completely-out-of-my-lane object (like a gas tank) and the supporting character would be toast.  Sorry.

I’ve never been a very good driver-which is why I decided to take driving lessons in France in order to survive. You can’t just get away with knowing how to drive here.  Frenchmen let out some serious inner psycho on the road.  If you can’t predict what they’re going to do-

This is embarrassing.  But in the five years I had my license in the U.S., I managed to get pulled over for:

Speeding-  1st transgression- I got a ticket for going 60 in a 45 and I decided to take it to court. (I was 18)  I told the judge that there was no way I was speeding since I had not only slowed down at the 45m sign but was going uphill and my piece of junk car won’t go faster than that when I go uphill.  (yes, I seriously did use this as an argument).  He must have thought I was funny because he went on to explain that they’d got me with a radar-but he told me to get my speedometer checked and waved the ticket.

2nd transgression-  The officer pulled me over and said I’d been going 65 in a 45.  I told him that was impossible because my car was overheating and I was crawling to get home.  My car WAS overheating.  You could see the smoke.  He let me go with a warning. (You starting to see a pattern here?)

Headlight out-  I had a Ford Probe with those stupid batmat flip-up headlights.  One of them wouldn’t open, but I had a special way of ‘fixing’ it.  When the officer pulled me over and said I had a headlight out I asked him 'if I could get out of the car?'  He said yes.  I took my hustry trusty headband, pulled up the headlight and jambed it in underneath to prop it up.  The officer scratched his chin and rolled his eyes heavenward muttering something about ‘women’ before letting me go.

Backing Down a Highway On-ramp because there was nobody around to see me....except the officer waiting for me at the end.  Sorry folks- there’s just no getting out of that one:)

What do you think about reckless driving scenes in movies and literature?  Cheap thrill or buzz kill?

If you'd like to catch up on more of Creepy's Misdemeanors-  click here.


Theresa Milstein said...

I just got my first ticket EVER after how many years... I'm not saying. It was for a yellow that turned red when I was in an intersection. And I've never received one for speeding (knock on wood). So we're different drivers.

Movies always make high speed chases completely unrealistic. Sometimes it takes away from the believability of the movie.

Vicki Rocho said...

I'm a schmuck, I guess. I've had a couple speeding tickets, but I just pay the dumb things because I WAS speeding.

For the most part car chases bore me - they seem like such a cliche. Probably watched too much Dukes of Hazzard and Knight Rider as a kid since that's all those shows were. hahaha

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I like a good car chase - the one in Ronin was intense!
My first speeding ticket was for 70 in a 55. I was so stunned when pulled over, I forgot to cry or do anything to attempt to pursude the officer otherwise. I think I was just glad he didn't catch me for doing 80, which is what I WAS doing at the time!

Matthew Rush said...

Interesting post Katie. I love car chases in films - but I honestly cannot think of one in a book. I wonder why?

April said...

It depends, I guess. I like them more in movies than in books. It's funny, but even though I read crime and thrillers (among many other genres), I've never been much of a fan of car chases or fight scenes in books. I'm not sure why. Sometimes, I don't mind them, but most of the time I skim until I get to the end. Maybe I feel like they're drawn out too long. I know what it's like to try to write one of those, though, so I should probably give props to the author and read every word.

As for my own car issues, I've been stopped several times and received a couple tickets, and I've also been in several minor accidents.

Nothing in the past three years though.

Piedmont Writer said...

I love your misdemeanors. Sweet with the batman headlight. I would so love to drive in France, I hear it's like racing. Oh, I finally learned your name is Kate. I will endeavor to remember. I hate calling you Creepy. That's what we used to call my little brother.

Clara said...

Hahahahaha Kd, I laughed so hard with this! Mostly because I totally get you:

When I took my drivers license, a good friend told me: "Oh good, yet another one with permission to kill in this town" so yeah, my driving is not very good lol

But the French are really psycho drivers. Worse then them, perhaps, only the italians.

Jen said...

This was great CQG!!! I must say that I'm with you, if it's an awesome book with a very tense scene I do have to force myself NOT to skip ahead, which is difficult. I'm sure you can relate!

Melissa said...

I always finding myself forcibly restraining my fingers from flipping ahead during a really intense scene. Man, it kills me!

Car chases - love em if they are done well.

You sound like me - I've gotten pulled over so many times for so many different things. (Headlights, no seatbelt, too many people, speeding) and talked myself out of tickets every time.

Being persuasive is handy sometimes, isn't it?

Old Kitty said...

Oooh you are a BAD girl!! LOL! I like!

As I don't drive, I avoid car chase descriptions like the plague! LOL!!

I like good car chases in films (Thelma & Louise/French Connection) so there's alot to be said for them - I'm trying to think if I;ve ever read a good car chase scene... hmm. You know I don't think I have! Oh dear.

Take care

Aubrie said...

I always go 5-10 miles over and I haven't got pulled over yet! Phew! I like car chases when they work with the plot. When they are just thrown in for action they are funny!

salarsenッ said...

I think it definitely depends on the mood and scheme of the film/book. There really is nothing like a good chase scene but it must be necessary and done tactfully.

I have seen and read both.

Great post, Katie.

JustineDell said...

I have my fair share of tickets. Some needed, some not. Grrr...officers!

I think they are buzz-kill. Now watch me have to write in a future Well, I guess they would be okay, depending on the mood/plot of the book. Just don't throw one in for the heck of it!


Renae said...

I don't mind the car scene if it's done right.
As for my driving...I pretty much suck. I've lost track of all the "warnings" I've gotten over the years. I'd never make it driving with your Frenchmen. Good Luck!

Natalie said...

I am super impressed by your ticket avoiding abilities. I've tried to get out of tickets before. I must not be very convincing.

I am usually not a fan of car chase scenes, unless they are really important to the story (and in 99.99% of books and movies, they aren't).

Stina Lindenblatt said...

ROFL at the last two.

I've a had a few warnings, like speeding in a playground zone (back when I was in university). Like you, I was shocked. I had just stopped at a stop sign, and was suprised my car had excelerated that quickly. Sure, my car might have LOOKED like a sport car, but it didn't act like one. The hot-looking cop smiled and gave me a warning when I said, "Ooops!"

stu said...

It should only ever be attempted by those people who have seen the chase scenes in the various Wallace and Grommit animations, and who as such know just how weird things can get.

Dawn said...

I'm a serious adrenaline junkie when it comes to car chases / speeding. Gulp. I used to have a sports car and racked up...a When I met my husband and we got two dogs and I gained a stepdaughter, I traded in my hot wheels for an SUV. Almost killed me. Even now, my hubby sometimes says: Hey babe, your KIA doesn't "corner like it's on rails" - sadly, he's right. In my current WIP I have a car chase scene I'm proud of. I'm living vicariously through my characters now :-) (And yeah, I own a lot of car racing movies...)

Kelley Vitollo said...

LOL. Only one ticket for me. It was for speeding.

Yeah I think a high speed scene can be good if its done right. I've never written one, but it feels like something that would be a tough scene to write. Trying to get that tension and action into the scene. Hmmm. Might have to try it some time!

Lindsay (a.k.a Isabella) said...

Lol. I'm the anti speed ticket girl. I'm a bit OCD with the speedometer. I panick if I'm, lik, 2mph over the limit.

Lisa Gail Green said...

I'm taking the easy way out and saying "it depends on the situation." Seriously though! It does.

Janet Johnson said...

Cheap thrill all the way! Love your stories. I've been pulled over twice. Once in the US and once in not the US. Got away with a warning both times. Phew!

Laura Pauling said...

I think it totally depends on how it's written if it works or not.

Melody said...

K, the headlight story made me LOL!

And, yes, I'm a sucker for car chases in movies. I know they're cliche. I know they're the same in every movie. I love them. End of story. (Books? Not so much. It tends to be rather...somehow...boring in books. I don't know why.)

Talli Roland said...

Oh, I never would have guessed! Look at you, Ms Reckless Driver!

My husband is the worst although he argues it's skill not reckless driving. He's from Cairo -- the worst reckless drivers ever!

Julie Musil said...

I'm okay with speeding/chase scenes as long as they're short. When they go on forever (especially in movies) I want to use the time to go to the bathroom.

Carolyn V. said...

I think it depends on the book. I agree with keeping them short!

Slamdunk said...

When I was in that profession, I would only give warnings for the headlighter unless there was lots more wrong after I spoke with the driver.

Yeah, the backing down a ramp when I thought no one was looking sounds like my luck as well.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Ha ha ha ha ha! You are too funny! I think they make for a good cheap thrill - when done well. :-)

Eric W. Trant said...

If I were a cop, I'd only pull over pretty girls.

Just saying. My wife gets pulled over all the time. Last time was for a headlight out. Time before that was -- and I kid you not -- for not having a front license plate.

Least she got out and wiggled for the officer... made his day, I bet, she's downright spankable. ;)

I love driving scenes in movies, but in literature keep em, I don't want em. I love the fury of the chase, the cheap effects, the stunts, the cornball lines, all of it.

Just not in a book.

- Eric

Elana Johnson said...

Cheap thrill. I like to drive fast -- and I've paid for it on occasion.

Suzanne Casamento said...

OMG. Your driving mishaps are hilarious. Backing down a freeway on ramp? C'mon girl! That's cRaZy!

WhisperingWriter said...

I like speeding scenes, so long as they are brief. Too much of it and I start to get frazzled.

Julie Musil said...

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Raquel Byrnes said...

I love writing them...especially when I get to have them in some sort of horribly old, not quite working car.

Weird details really make it real for me.

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