In discussing films, there might be spoilers. Sorry!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Guest from Cassidy: Anticipation: Why We Wait ...

Richard Castle: [clears throat]

Kate Beckett: [turns around to face Castle, smiling] Well, I guess this is it.
Castle: Oh, it doesn't have to be. We could go to dinner, debrief each other.
Kate Bec
kett: Why, Castle? So I can become another one of your conquests?
Richard Castle: Or I can be one of you
Kate Beckett: It was nice to meet you, Castle. [extends hand]
Castle: [looks down and shakes hand] It's too bad. It would have been great.
Kate Beck
ett: [bites bottom lip and whispers in Castle's ear] You have no idea. [walks away] "

“Pilot.” Castle. ABC. 9 Mar. 2009. Television.

(Starring Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle and Stana Katic as Kate Beckett)


Whether in books, television or movies, it is those moments of anticipation that capture us, lure us in, and drag us kicking and screaming through the mud, guts and glory all the way to the end.

Think of some famous movies, and then think of them without the juicy, sometimes terrifying moments of anticipation that make them unique:

· What would Alien be without the thrashing, choking anticipation of what is happening to the crew member on the table just before the alien bursts out of his chest in crimson spurts of blood?

· Would Titanic be as heart-wrenching and tragic if we didn’t share Rose’s heartbreak as Jack slowly freezes to death in the ocean?

· What about the tense anticipation of the hammer scene in “Misery?

· In Jaws – the teen swimming scene when the music taunts us… you know it’s coming, but when?

· The Fifth Element (1997), will Milla Jojovich and Bruce Willis stop the world from being destroyed?

· In Van Helsing (2004), when (Kate Beckinsale) fights to reach her love to inject Van Helsing (Hugh Jackman) with the werewolf cure.

These movies (and many others) wouldn’t be quite the same without the anticipation, would they? Writers know this, and tend to build it into their stories. Creating drama, introducing danger or loss—it makes for good stories all around.

They came, they saw, they left.

What excitement does that build? None at all. Most people would probably walk out of the theater, put the book down, or turn the television off if all of our favorite stories left out the ‘wait’ we have come to love. In thrillers, suspense movies, action shows, and even romances, we love the idea of what might be just around the corner.

It is hard-wired in our brains, along with the fight for survival, the search for love, the search for food. If we had no hope of finding these things, or looking forward to something unknown in the future, we’d be doomed as a race. Ages before writing, oral stories passed from teacher to student, teaching the rewards of perseverance, patience and hope, as well as the dangers of jumping in too quickly, or not following the rules. We watch, we listen and we learn.

We are told that all good things come to those who wait. And if that waiting gives us pleasure, a temporary fright, or some type of thrill, we learn to seek that stimulation out again and again. No matter the genre or the medium, tense moments of anticipation keep us on the edge of our seats, or keep us quickly turning pages for the ultimate satisfaction or scare that we crave.

What’s your favorite moment of anticipation?

Cassidy McKay lives in Northern California, nestled among the pines of the Sierra Nevada foothills. After a rather unique childhood where learned to deal with emergency veterinary surgery, firefighting, dog training and washing clothes in creeks, she worked her way through a career in law enforcement, four children and two marriages. She entertains herself studying the local history and spends her nights writing spicy, erotic romances after the kids go to bed. She amuses herself bantering and brainstorming with her husband, fantasy writer H.E. Curtis, while traveling for research, family entertainment, and her never-ending search for sanity. When she is not writing romances or harassing her husband, Cassidy enjoys reading almost anything she can get her hands on.

Visit Cassidy’s website at http://www.cassidymckay.com, or for sweet romance visit her alter-ego Ashlyn BarrĂ© at http://www.ashlynbarre.com.


  1. I am such a Castle fan! Great blog and yes anticipation is everything when it comes to writing. You wait for it, wait for it, wait for it and then heave a huge sigh when it happens.

  2. Thanks Cassidy once again for visiting and shining your words of wisdom down ... with Nathan Fillion!! Great, great piece on anticipation that is so true.

  3. Oh, Castle. How do I love thee...

    So true. That satisfying payoff is all about the rising anticipation. Yum!

  4. Thanks guys! I agree, I love the anticipation. It makes what you're waiting for SO much better... (and as Castle told Beckett) always.

    Looking forward to the new episode tonight. Castle does my romance writer's heart good!

  5. Cassidy, I'm another Castle fan! That excellent tension between him and Kate is delicious! In fact, I hope they don't resolve it too soon... if at all. I remember in Moonlight with Sybil and Bruce Willis once they'd got together the show was never quite the same. Perhaps the resolution has to be the last episode?

    You've sited some fantastic tension moments - I shudder at the hammer scene in Misery!

    Mmmm, lots of other moments to chose from... in Love Actually I wondered if the PM (Hugh Grant) would eventually end up with the girl that got sacked - and he did! Loved that kiss scene behind the school play! LOL


  6. I'm glad to know there's so many Castle fans around!

    I've heard of the "Moonlighting curse" but I wonder if a series can go on forever without *some* type of satisfaction. I could easily see Castle and Beckett together, with the series going on. With her job as a detective, there will always be some type of catastrophe, danger, and anticipation to carry the series through.

    But we'll see!