Thursday, December 21, 2006

You Lost Me

So yeah, I watched The Lost Room on the SciFi channel, and I have to admit I was really getting into it. I missed some bits here and there because I didn't DVR the thing right away, but I caught it all on the replay and have it stored for later.

But as a writer, I have a gripe.

Now, first off, I love a complex plot. And for emphasis, I'll repeat: I LOVE a complex plot.

I love writing that assumes the reader/watcher is intelligent enough to follow along, and takes us on a journey with twists and turns and unexpected originality. So while I was watching this miniseries -- and frankly my sole reason for taking an interest in this presentation -- was the writing. That lead actor was okay, could have been better looking for my tastes, but he was good in the role. The other actors were fine, all that falderal.

It was the writing that drew me in. The room, the key, the objects, the potential this tale had for a complete series and the sense of writerly wonder it boosted in me -- I found myself analyzing how fantastic it would have been if I'd come up with this idea, and where I could have gone with it. There were major feelings of jealousy involved, since I hadn't, in fact, come up with it.

All the while I'm watching this thing, I'm thinking ahead and wondering just how this writer is going to bring everything full circle. I was all set to be amazed, nay, dazzled by the conclusion. In my mind were all manner of possible angles and twists, and I could only wait with anticipation to see how this writer wrapped it up.

Then it was over.

No explanation. No conclusion. No satisfaction whatsoever!

Had this been a book, this would have been the point at which I would have thrown it physically and with great enthusiastic force across the room ! Threads were left dangling, answers were left completely Unanswered, and not one mystery was brought to a logical or satisfying conclusion.

And if you're thinking this was a perfect open-door to sequels, No, it wasn't. Sequels would have required a much different and better scripted lead-in.

This is what we call a Dud. A writer who had a fancy-dancy idea, and no where to go with it. A writer who envisioned a great, convoluted plot with twists, turns, flips and spins . . . but couldn't figure out how it ends!

As a writer, I can say that many of us start out with this. We have a picture in our heads of one scene or one idea, then realize there's a story there that needs to be told, so we work up some characters, stretch that one idea out into a set of ideas that connect into something we can call a plot. Then sometimes we'll even start writing the thing before we've figured out how it ends.

But -- and here's the real kicker -- we don't END that story until we HAVE figured it out! During the process of writing, more plot twists come to mind, and eventually, as you're busily placing your characters in peril and working out their eventual success, the ending comes to you. You spend a little time working out the logic, making sure it truly IS the ending you're looking for, double-checking to make sure it wraps up all the mysteries in a logical manner, and one that a reader could have figured out (which entails making sure you left just enough clues without giving it all away).

Then, and only then, can you type The End at the bottom !!!

If you have a great story, a twisting and complex plot, but NO logical conclusion, it isn't DONE YET !

Okay, rant over. I have to go figure out why this thing won't load images anymore, and think about switching to the new blogger. I just had to VENT first !


At 12:43 PM, Blogger Cath Smith said...

I'm kind of glad I didn't see it.

Good to see you blogging again!

At 9:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was actually a sort of pilot for a potential *series*, not a sequel--that's why it was set up like that.


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