Arrow Thursday: So Many Things To Fix

Time of Death

When my students do formal critiques of a story, they hit four points:
Who’s the protagonist? What’s his goal?
Who’s the antagonist? What’s his goal?
What must be kept in this story [because it’s so good]?
What must be fixed [in order for the story to work]?

So here’s my critique of the Arrow episode “Time of Death” followed by miscellaneous notes at the end. Warning: I really hated most of this, so you may just want to go play in the comments and ignore the post. Continue reading

Questionable: Turning an Idea Into a Plot

Georgia wrote:

I’d like to know about how to turn an idea into a plot . . . At this point I sort of go “Okay, so what do you want?” and if the character doesn’t know the whole thing stalls. If they do know, I can randomly follow that thread (poke the sore spot and see what happens), but that approach doesn’t lend itself so well to a structured narrative. So I’m guessing that it starts with a goal, but building an actual plot beyond that leaves me completely bewildered…

Continue reading

Leverage Sunday: The Nigerian Job by John Rogers & Chris Downey: Creating a Community

Setting up a community isn’t easy; getting that many people on the page or screen and keeping them all individualized while combining them into a unit normally takes some time, a slow build so that the reader or viewer can get to know each member as the team gradually bonds. Some series–Person of Interest and Arrow, for example–do this over many episodes, adding one member at a time. And then there’s Leverage, a show that dropped five loners into the first episode, fused them into a unit, and never stopped running. The pilot for the series is a great tutorial on how to create a team very quickly while individualizing all its members. Continue reading