Friday, May 28, 2010

What Jack and Elvis Do Not Have In Common

Here’s my final tribute to LOST that, apparently, I’ve been doing this week. That wasn’t my intention, but, golly, that show was good.

I know many disagree, and that’s okay, but if you’d like one last commentary to help you digest the last six years, please go to Bryan Allain’s site for his recap of the show. Don’t know who Bryan Allain is? Neither did I until I saw his link on Facebook. Apparently, he’s a Christian with the tag line, “Daily Doses of Nonsense and Inspiration.” I think I shall friend him because he seems like my kind of guy.

Back to his article, “My Final Thoughts On Lost.” I hope you take the time to read it. He not only answered some questions, he also gave me a nugget of what I should do as a writer if I’m ever brave enough to write an epic novel. Or any novel with…say…more than two characters. (Okay, I have written novels with more than two characters, but I’m trying to make a point here.)

One word. Protagonist.

Have you ever watched a movie where you weren’t sure who the main character was? Frustrating, wasn’t it? I have yet to see all of Elvis Presley’s movie “The Trouble With Girls” about a traveling chataqua (school mixing education with entertainment) set in the early 1900s. Elvis is only on-screen about a third of the time, yet he’s supposed to be playing the main character. I’ve tried to watch it, but it’s like swimming through Mississippi mud. Just…couldn’t…quite…get…to…the…end…

The point is, regardless of how many characters or plots you have running through your story, concentrate on one person. Some of the unanswered questions on LOST were because the answers weren’t in Jack’s perspective. It’s his story, not Sayid’s, for instance. Why did Sayid “move on” with Shannon and not Nadia? Dunno. If it wasn’t important to Jack, it wasn’t important to the storyline.

That’s my takeaway. I can make my plotline look like a pretzel, I can have an island load of characters, I can even suspend disbelief. (Really Hurley? After all that exercise and natural food you lost no weight at all?) But, I’d better stick to one person through which my story is told. Even in the romances I write, even though I have clear plot skeletons for both hero and heroine, and each follow the hero’s journey, I lean to one character over the other to tell the story through.

So, once again, do yourselves a huge favor and go to Bryan’s site. He’s funny, a little snarky like me, and has great insight from a Christian perspective.

No comments: