Saturday, April 12, 2014

Don't Hit the Reset Button

Last night I watched a serialized drama on TV, and it got me thinking about pushing the plot forward. 

In this episode, four characters tried to solve their problems. Character A volunteered to accept new challenges and was denied the opportunity. Character B failed to meet her changing responsibilities and yet was honored at the end of the episode. Character C was given new tasks, performed brilliantly, then was demoted to her previous position – which she accepted cheerfully. Character D made a half-hearted attempt to accept happiness then returned to her previous hopelessness. Every character finished the episode in the same emotional, intellectual and physical state as she started it.

To have a story, characters must have problems and strive to overcome them. Success must be hard won. Emotions must run high. At the end of the scene, chapter or episode, the situation must either worsen or improve. Change is interesting. Static is boring.

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