Ticking Clocks

While breaking down all ten 2011 Best Picture nominees, Cheryl and James discuss the Ticking Clock,  a narrative device that can be very effective at building tension and suspense.

We look at:  Which nominated films employed the Ticking Clock?  Which ones did not?   And of the ones that did not, how did they create tension instead?

Plus, you’ll find out how you can fit the Ticking Clock into your story development.

As a bonus, you’ll hear how James Cameron likely went about writing Titanic, why The Kids Are Alright is a lot like The Cat in the Hat, and which nominee put Cheryl to sleep (literally).

Stories mentioned in the episode:

  • 127 Hours
  • Black Swan
  • Inception
  • Rocky
  • The Cat in the Hat
  • The Fighter
  • The Kids are All Right
  • The King’s Speech
  • The Social Network
  • Titanic
  • Toy Story 3
  • True Grit
  • Winter’s Bone

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2 Responses to “Ticking Clocks”

  1. Jess Smart Smiley December 2, 2012 at 6:23 pm #

    Hi James and Cheryl!

    I discovered your podcast this past week, while researching writing techniques, and was able to listen to this first episode on ticking clocks.

    Though I’ve only seen Inception and Toy Story 3, I really liked the way you took apart each film and focused on their use of tension. I’m writing and illustrating a graphic novel and your podcast is already pushing me to write better and to ask more of my writing.

    I’m excited to learn more with the two of you via your podcasts. Thanks!


  1. The Emperor of Ice Cream » Query Diaries (from the archive: January 2013) - July 4, 2013

    […] book’s body count and the “must solve the crime before the next victim shows up” ticking clock, then it’s probably not the right book for me. I may be interested in a book that has a […]

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