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Complications Ensue:
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Sunday, June 26, 2005

One of the early problems I had with the Charlie Jade template was the big question: what does he do every week. Now I'm struggling with a similar problem with a series whose template I'm trying to crack. The character is fresh, unique, with a compelling problem. But what does she do every week.

My problem is in this case her journey seems to be inward. The questions she's bound to ask herself are familiar ones: why am I here? What am I supposed to be doing? But asking inward questions doesn't seem to suit a series. The SF shows I know are all outwardly directed. Every week, the Battlestar Galactica and its crew fight Cylons and try to get to safety. Every week, Buffy fights vampires and other supernatural evil. Every week, the people on the Lost island try to figure out the secrets of the island.

So, it seems, I need to manufacture an ongoing external issue for my heroine to deal with... or decide that the series idea isn't really right for TV after all.


Dude, you're asking a question you already know the answer to. Which we all do, of course, and sometimes friends on blogs help speed up the process: the inward and the outward journey must overlap. Who's your daddy, Luke? What happened to you and the sis, Mulder? Now, I do expect you to handle your situation better than Those Creators did, of course.

By Blogger Will Shetterly, at 7:20 PM  

You mentioned Battlestar and I got homesick for it.

Yes they do have cylons to fight, but they also have a lot of spirituality in the plot. And they do a good job of making it believable and interesting. Having a hot blonde be your spiritual guide certainly helps.

I swear, I love how conflicted the cylons are. They are almost more human than human. It is easily my favorite show.

The external force is the fun part. it will make your character go hmmm, and should onviously be some sort of manifestation of her internal struggle. If she is questioning her existence, perhaps someone is trying to kill her.
It is hard to give advice without knowing more, so I will shut up now :)

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:21 AM  

Instead of making the events shape the protagonist, why not make the character's personality and..well.. character guide the plot?

I believe that that is what Chris Clarmont and Frank Miller did with Wolverine and created an amazing graphic novel.

Think of what kind of person you want her to be and then decide what it would take for her to get to that point. The outward forces don't always have to be easy to understand or the same (vampires/cylons) but rather have a single purpose... to prepare your heroine for the future.

As long as there is a thread connecting all of these "bad guys" or events then the audience will accept it and it will be compelling.

Im not sure if this makes a ton of sense, and without more info what I say could be completely wrong. :)

By Blogger Jason Sanders, at 12:16 PM  

Got to agree with Will on this one - the best shows are ALWAYS using the outer conflict to illuminate the inner one. I also think the more interesting aspects of characters come about when we learn exactly how far a character will go to resolve that outer conflict.

By Blogger Cunningham, at 7:00 PM  

Add a monkey! Monkey sidekicks always bring drama and angst to any production (the OC will be doing this during sweeps). You character could deal with the duality of man/beast.

Put clothes on the monkey too, maybe a hat.

By Blogger John Donald Carlucci, at 3:10 PM  

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