I rented the South Korean movie Shiri from Netflix. It took me four days to watch it. The reasons are pretty sad, but a bit understandable.
I was afraid.
Here’s the thing; the plot synopsis sounded strangely familiar to my novel series; both involved spies, Korean unification, and a strong female character trying to balance duty and love.
I was afraid to see my story already done, in film. Worse still, I was afraid that it would be done better than I ever could. I sat on that freaking DVD for four days, up until about two hours ago. Then I bit the bullet and watched it.
First, I do think it is better than what I could have put together. The whole thing was brilliant, right through the final three minutes. I almost stood up to do a slow clap as the credits rolled. No wonder it beat Titanic’s numbers in South Korea.
Second, it wasn’t my story at all. It was, however, the best prequel I have ever seen for my story. I could not have written a better set up for my series. The movie takes place about ten years before my first novel opens, and it sets the stage perfectly. Creepy, considering that I didn’t even know the movie existed until last week (I started the BLAQUE series in 2010). I feel like I should write a shout out to the director on my thank you page.
Third, just like the wonderful lessons I learned from a Korean mini-series, I learned a lot from Shiri. I got to see how Korean intelligence works (at least in the entertainment world), I saw how covert spies are trained, and I got to see dozens of trained gunmen fire at each other at near point-blank range distance and still miss. I mean, you get the idea.
I feel insanely stupid for being apprehensive about the movie. It was worth the watch, so much so that I ordered a copy online. I’m admitting my fear in hopes that none of you repeat it. Look at and read material similar to your own. It will give you ideas of what’s been done, what hasn’t been done, and what can make your story better.
Oh, and less than three weeks until Thrillerfest!!! Who’s going? 🙂