Monday, December 19, 2011


Specifically, those of characters, plots, this blog, and the rest of my school year.

First, a bit of good news. Actually, a lot of good news. My voice essay for the Voice of Democracy Scholarship Competition is a State Finalist! That means, in January, I will be in Austin for fancy banquets and tours (not, I think, though, to meet Rick Perry.) Whoo!

Still waiting on agent feedback. Of course, I kinda sent it off at the very worst time for the agents, but I didn't really have a better option, being in school and all that. The countdown to graduation has begun. Well, no. It began awhile ago. It has begun in earnest now.

So my dearest mother thinks I need to blog about something useful. I know--what does she think this blog is? A writing blog? But, to honor her request, I will blog about something near and dear to my heart--LOST.

LOST, and its semi-sequel ONCE UPON A TIME (abbreviated here as OUAT) are largely character-driven TV shows. You take a set of believable characters--almost to the point of being stereotypical--and then you subvert their archetypes by revealing their back-stories and putting them in weird interactions with each other. So basically, they're the best things ever, and the writers of these two shows are the people who have made me want to be a TV show writer. Thanks, guys.

For example. In LOST, you have a set of characters. You have the hero/doctor. The pretty girl. The fat guy. The pregnant girl. The junkie. The outdoors-man. The bad Asian (arranged?) marriage. The caustic Southern. But this isn't who they really are. The hero is afraid of failure. The pretty girl is a criminal. The fat guy is cursed. The pregnant girl isn't helpless. The junkie used to be religious. The outdoors-man is a cripple. The Asians are deeply in love. The Southern watched his parents die. All of the characters have something in their past that makes them different. Unique. And that is what makes a show breathtaking.

So what do you do with these characters, then? In a show like LOST, with a metaphorical Hell on the island, the only way to kill a character is to actualize him (actually, this goes for a lot of shows--they're just more subtle about it). Like Boone. This is the first character to die in the show, one who is incestually (ish) involved with his stepsister. Ugh. Anyway, before he dies, Boone undergoes a transformation. He lets go of Shannon, stops being useless, and finally gets himself involved with actively trying to get off of the island. And then...he dies. So sad.

The basic goal of any TV show is to get all the characters to where they are supposed to end up. You actualize them, make them happy. Sometimes, if it's earlier on in the show, you kill them. If it's later, you leave them happy (although usually not perfectly happy--you don't want a gooshy ending).

So there's my useful blog for the day on character arcs. Also, I want to introduce a book reviewing series on this blog, for two reasons. 1) I enjoy the practice and 2) I REALLY need good books to read. So, since the majority of people who see this blog post will be writers, I want you to leave a comment below of one or more awesome books that I can read. Any genre will do, preferably YA, but I will NOT (no exceptions) read Women's Fiction, Paranormal, or Romance. Sorry. Not gonna happen. If those are all the books you read, I exempt you from the Book of Awesomeness Comment Rule.

Have fun. See you soon. Ish.

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