Thursday, October 1, 2009

Plotting from left field

I'm watching this show right now where the plot keeps twisting and turning.  There's a lot of conflict and fighting and philosophy and moral quandaries and horrible, awful tragedy.  The plotting is pretty brilliant.  Every so often, things start lining up so that you can see a future that doesn't involve characters dying horribly or living miserably.  Then, something screws it all up beyond repair, and things get worse. 

It's kind of brilliant but dangerous.  It has that feeling of thrill, like what you feel when you think it would be fun to run down a hill and realize part of the way down that gravity has taken over.  You want things to end well, but you don't know if they can (or if you can hold on until they do).

One reviewer mentioned that this tactic is dangerous because it can't be kept up indefinitely.  Maybe people will only watch until they think there's no more hope for anyone's happiness?  I guess it's different if you go in knowing it's all tragedy and that the ending will leave a lot of people crying, but many people won't even start a show like that because they don't like that feeling of hopelessness and fate/destiny.

What do you think?  Will you start a show or book if you don't know how things will end up in terms of tragedy? 

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