Something that should be kept in mind when writing is the value of something you create. If you do something, you want to make sure it has meaning and impact. Now, “impact” doesn’t really mean that the story has to move the audience but rather, make them appreciate whatever you’re trying to do. Too much of something loses its meaning.
In poetry, the rule is that every word would have to contribute to the imagery intended by the author as well as the meaning intended. Poetry is the right words used in the right place and if that is followed, the poem would have impact to the readers. Each word has meaning and purpose.
This doesn’t solely apply to poetry. It applies to the shows that we watch, the books we read, and the things we do.
I remember watching a play in UST recently (but I don’t really care for the title because it was a bad play if you have your brain on). At first it was good since the first act was with two friends asking each other 20 Questions which meant room for character development. However, when the girl asked the guy if he’s still a virgin, that’s what struck me the most because that’s where the conversation turned into something else entirely. It had me thinking “Okay, so that’s the sense of this play. I can deal with that...” but the characters constantly talked about sex and threw character development out the window.
I can’t forget this line as well. “A lot of guys penetrated me but no one had ever penetrated my soul”. Was that supposed to be sweet? It wasn’t because all sympathy had gone because the script focused too much on having sex and the guy’s virginity which meant that developing them was meaningless.
The next act was way worse. It involved four people waiting for the results of a job interview. The acting was purposely driven over the top for the four characters but the problem was that only one was sympathetic. The first girl was over the top but had some sympathy because she wanted to work for the sake of her family. The first guy was mentioning sex and blowjobs for his purpose. The second girl wanted to work for drugs. The second guy was a gay pervert who was constantly becoming perverted and mentioning sex and blowjobs as well. (Like rape, I blocked out some of these parts so I forget.)
When the play ended, I was offended not because of the content but rather the overreliance on sex. Yes, the concept was suppressing emotions. That was good but the reliance on sex and meaningless perversion was made the entire thing pointless. What was the point of the perversion? Nothing. They could tell me “Oh, that’s what we all are hiding. Perversions!” Yeah, that’s true but somehow, we could’ve done it without putting that aspect on stage. Everyone has something to hide such as naivety, innocence, constant fear, but no, the play chose to sensationalize everyone’s inner perversions. It would’ve been alright if it hadn’t been played for laughs and just portrayed in small doses. Some sex is alright, if done correctly. If it’s done too much, it loses its impact and would later be meaningless. Eventually, it will rely on sex. The play was alright but only as momentary entertainment for others. Would people be talking about it? Not for long. Why? It had too much meaningless perversion.
The concept of inflation could be applied to what we watch. If something is done in small doses, it will have more impact. For example, a generic romantic movie would have two characters fall in love but somehow, they don’t kiss yet. After plot development and constant buildup, when the two characters finally kiss, the viewers are driven to tears or at least touched by the scene. They love it. They believe it.
Another example, How I Met Your Mother has Barney Stinson who constantly sleeps with women through devious ways and he does so in 4 seasons. When the people were ready to give up on the character, he finally shows real emotion and falls in love with Robin. That had impact on the viewers. Sure, he’s portrayed as a perverted womanizer but he was given a human side. That made all that sex meaningless. The writers used that to develop his character in a good way. The difference of this and that perverted play was that there was a payoff to it. It had impact and value.
However, if something is done too much, it loses meaning. For example, if a comedy uses the same joke over and over again, it won’t be funny. It would be tedious. Why? Because the joke had already lost its value. It was hilarious at first but then it would be redundant and you just wish the characters would just shut up about it.
Last example, in the 90’s, hardcore wrestling became popular. This is where wrestlers would use weapons like chairs, tables, barbed wire baseball bats, and thumbtacks in their matches. People have enjoyed this so much that they have been desensitized to simple matches. One shot of a chair seems to week now. Back then, that would usually end the match, but the constant use of violence had lost the meaning of the simple usage of weapons in professional wrestling, even though wrestling isn’t about weapons to begin with.
Again, if you’re going to do something, make sure it has meaning. Too much of something will make what you did meaningless if it once had the impact you intended to get. You would turn people off with the constant use of your aspect. If you’ve used that aspect too much, doing something different would have impact. Otherwise, your audience would be apathetic.