24 Sep

Implausible, improbable, impossible: a fine line

I remember being taught about how to write good radio ad scripts.
‘The best thing about radio’ I was told ‘is that it’s the theatre of the mind’.
What does this mean (I know some people will already know)
? It means that, because radio isn’t a visual medium – like TV, posters, or press ads – you can suggest almost anything, within a script, and get your audience to see it in their mind (in much the same way that when we read a book, we all see our own version of the characters, situations, and settings in our heads).
If I want to mention a dragon, peeling a tangerine with the claws on its feet, whilst singing Autumn Days, I can – you’ll start picturing it, whether you want to or not.

The other thing about the ‘theatre of the mind’ is that it’s fine to write/suggest anything that you wish the audience ‘see’, even if it’s improbable or implausible that the thing/situation you’re writing about could exist.
As long as what you’re suggesting isn’t something that’s simply impossible, you can get away with it (you have to go a long way to move from implausible into impossible).

However, whilst this can work within the confines of a radio ad/script/play, it doesn’t necessarily pan out so well in real life. In fact, suggesting the implausible can sound downright ridiculous.

As an example of this, I came across a news story, this morning: an artist is suing the former king of Belgium, as she wants recognition of the fact that she is his illegitimate lovechild and 15th in line to the throne.
Here’s the good bit. Her lawyer said; ‘If the royal family got in a plane together and had an accident, then she could be queen.’

So, if all 14 royals who are next in line to the Belgian throne – before this artist – happen to get on the same plane, AND if that plane happens to crash, AND if that crash is fatal to all involved, then this artist could be queen … seems likely.

There’s something else that’s been overlooked: this kind of (non-existent) scenario, above, is the very reason that all of the royals/heirs to the throne don’t get on the same plane at once – so that if e.g two die on the same plane, there are still a spare 12 heirs to the throne.

Anyway, to round off my point, I’m going to have a crack at my own ridiculous ‘if then’ statements:

‘If all of the police retire tomorrow, then everything will be legal’

‘If all the rice crops in the world die, then no-one can eat Paella again’

‘If trees stop growing, then woodchucks will run out of things to chuck’

‘If I were left-handed, then I wouldn’t be right-handed’

‘If my feet were made out of chocolate, then I’d eat them’

‘If my cat had entirely canine traits, then it’d be a dog’

Okay, I’m bored of this game now. You get the gist: if you’re trying to get people to imagine things, then implausible and improbable things/situations can work, but they start to sound a bit silly when used in a real life context.




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