Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Help for Dragging Plots

by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig

Walking DeadMy husband is a regular viewer and fan of The Walking Dead series on AMC.

It’s not the kind of thing I usually watch, but I’ve caught the show with my husband a few times. I know that a lot of writers watch it too, because I’ve see their posts in my blog reader.

Lately, the consensus of most of the posts I’ve read is that the show was dragging a little. That the plot wasn’t moving quickly enough, that there was too much dialogue, not enough action, and that the group of survivors seemed to be bogged down.

My husband just wanted more zombies. :)

But then, Sunday night was the mid-season finale (I didn’t even know there was such a thing) and the pace picked up.

There still weren’t a lot of zombies in the episode, but I didn’t hear any complaints from my husband. The writers had kicked the tension up a notch. I’ll be vague here so there won’t be any spoilers.

How the writers picked up the pace and made things interesting:

They pitted characters against each other in ways that developed the storyline.

They increased the tension by threatening a development that would put the characters at risk.

They added ambiguity to the situation by posing questions that they didn’t immediately provide the answers to.

They added a twist.

They put a character in a situation where he had to act against his own moral code. (Great internal conflict resulting from external conflict).

They added depth to supporting characters by showing other sides to them.

The reviews online from writers I follow were very positive---they thought the episode worked well….even without more zombies.

What do you do when your plot starts dragging?