Tuesday, May 15, 2012


I recently finished the series Friday Night Lights. LOVED it! That's a wonderful example of good characterization. My new obsession I've moved onto is now the TV show Lost. I'm still in the first season but rapidly devouring it up. If you want a good example of plotting, go watch Lost.

I never watched the show when it was still on television (so thank you Netflix!) but now I see what all the clamor was about. Each episode ends with a kind of cliff hanger. Kate's a wanted criminal. What did she do?! Onto the next episode. There's a monster in the jungle. Well, what is it?! Onto the next episode. There's a door of some sort in the jungle; a girl is kidnapped and they only wanted her, and so on. 

All of these things have suspense and intrigue. Not only do you want to find out what happens next but you're left with the kinds of questions that tap into your imagination. That's how each chapter in your manuscript should end. Provided not every manuscript is going to have the same degree of twists and turns made possible by the setting of a deserted jungle island.

Still, a major turning point for characters in all books is when they are throw into the foreign world. What's defined as "foreign" can vary. This could be Bella in her new town of Forks or Harry at Hogwarts, so long as the character has made a distinct transition to get to where they are now. As they move through this new world, that's where the plotting really takes off.

What books or movies do you think have mastered plotting and why?

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