Cenk Uygur’s VIMS

WriterCenk Uygur of The Young Turks came up with a metric while reviewing Game of Thrones: VIMS. VIMS stands for Violence, Intrigue, Mystery, Sex. He reckoned that Game of Thrones is such a massive success because it has all four.

Recently, I’ve been giving up on a lot of books and I think he’s onto something. I thought that he needed a H in that acronym for humour, but it turns out he’s right. Humour can’t sustain a story on its own.

I just started “Scriptlings” by Sorin Suciu about a week ago on the recommendation of a friend. I’ve gotten to about 35% through the book and I’m bored out of my mind.

The author’s style is great. Sorin Suciu can really write and has great phrases and analogies in the book, but that’s just not enough. Nothing has happened after 35%. No violence, no intrigue, no sex and the mystery of the world was solved after about twenty pages or so.

Before “Scriptlings”, I read “Year One” by Rob Reid and ran into the same problem. Rob Reid can really write, but nothing was happening a significant way through the book.

“Ready Player One” had the same problem, but I managed to persist with that one. Mostly because I can get to 25% or so through a book on style alone, but why should I have to?

E-publishing has made it possible to publish no matter how small your market, but that means that authors have a duty to be interesting. Without a filter on the market, authors need to be that filter for themselves.

I can forgive slightly sloppy writing and the occassional spelling mistake, but there is no greater sin in my opinion than being boring.

I may do a “Nitty Gritty” video on this in the near future, but in the meantime I’d appeal to authors out there. Don’t write boring books. I know you love your world, but the world is just the container for the story, it’s not the story itself. Remember to add the VIMS.


Get Into The Action

For a limited time, I'm giving away the first two books in the Bytarend Fantasy series and the Hard Vacuum science fiction series for free.

Bytarend is fast, fun fantasy that'll have you on the edge of your seat. Hard Vacuum is hard-talking, violent science fiction and my tribute to 80s action movies.

Grab all four books for free:


3 thoughts on “Cenk Uygur’s VIMS

  1. Couldn’t agree more. I read (and watch TV) for entertainment and escapism. I don’t mind occasionally being challenged, I don’t mind it being a hard read sometimes, I don’t even mind if it makes me think (not too often though). I do mind if I’m not being entertained on some level.

    GoT is an interesting example for me though. I’m seemingly one of the few people on the planet who doesn’t enjoy it. I should enjoy it but I don’t. Although it has all the elements of VIMS (not a trace of H though), part of the problem is that it never lets up with those things, especially the violence. I find I can’t relax while watching it. Don’t have an issue with violence (and I know to a large extent the hyper violence fits the world of GoT), but there is something else I need.

    Take the remake of Battlestar Galactica. Had VIMS (admittedly tea time TV type violence) but every now and then it had a downright cheesy episode. Might have got a bit pretentious towards the end, but the writers seemed to remember that they were telling a story. That people needed some enjoyment occasionally. GoT got me down after watching it. Just no hope or optimism or cheese in there. And darn it, I need cheese! (accept that apparently the majority of the rest of the world doesn’t).

    Interesting post Simon. Certainly making me go back over my own writing…

    • Absolutely, there should be a variety of tones too, in order to avoid being monotonoous. GoT is my favourite show on TV, but even I would admit that it’s not a barrel of laughs 🙂

      I think it’s about audience. If you make something that’s a dark, depressing exploration of a world without hope, then some people aren’t going to be into that 🙂

      However, if you make something with no VIMS, then you’re shrinking your audience considerably. Some people will still enjoy it, but a tiny percentage of the people that would otherwise.

Comments are closed.