Once Upon a Tuesday
[Hands on Keyboard: May 22, 2012]
Contains spoilers for ABC’s Once Upon a Time
Also, a bit of a rant
Fellow HoKers, I had a majorly productive week. I wrote everyday but Sunday and my word count came to 7890 words, all of it in Chrysalis Book 1 even! However, while it was productive, I’m finding that the changes, (which I thought were slight until l spent five hours writing), mean I’m writing completely new content. It is a bit disappointing not to be able to use old material. My previous draft is an excellent outline, but my narrative and pacing are different enough that practically all my words are new.
It hit me this weekend that I am, for reals, writing a new book. I’m also not withholding as much plot information as I did before. It’s kind of killing me. The result has my characters taking risks which up the tension and create new problems for me to solve.
Which brings me to the topic of taking risks in your writing. I’ve been thinking about this ever since the season finale of ABC’s Once Upon a Time.
I need to preface this with how much I enjoy this show. It is not the best written show out there but there is something fun watching Disney give permissions that allow us to see someone’s Alternate Reality Dual World Fanfiction on Sundays. It is also one of the few shows out there where the three main characters are all women–The Evil Queen/Regina, Snow White/Mary Margaret, and the Savior/Emma.
The costumes are beautiful.
However, Once Upon a Time, is not necessary a show that takes risks. The plot is fairly typical and while the characters are interesting and everyone is given time to be the hero of their fairy tale, there are been few legitimate twists over the course of the season. Then, the week before the finale, the advertisements, the writers, the producers started promising that the finale would CHANGE EVERYTHING.
I got excited, especially after the previous episode’s cliffhanger–the son that Regina and Emma shared ate a poisoned apple turnover and went into a coma. After 21 episodes, they pounded into us how powerful True Love’s Kiss was and that Emma and Regina both had access to magic. I told everyone that if the writers really meant that everything would change, then it would be Regina, not Emma, to break the spell on the boy.
Imagine having the Evil Queen show that she actually loved her adopted son enough to break her own curse. Wouldn’t that create some problems for our heroine? Wouldn’t that be an excellent risk that would CHANGE EVERYTHING?
This is not how it went down. I cannot describe how many dragons plot holes happened in this episode. The writers and produces had to get online and explain what happened because it was that confusing. They needed another edit and an extra episode. They needed to take a risk and give us a bigger twist. What they did with Rumpelstiltskin does not count, especially since they had to explain it.
With my irritation regarding this in mind, along with my desire to be surprising yet inevitable as a writer, I’ve been forcing my characters to take risks and deviate for the path I wrote them before. They are surprising agreeable but it does mean my risks have consequences and I’m suffering through a lot of problem solving.
So, lovely HoKers, what are some examples where you felt the writer took risks that paid off? Or, an example like mine, where there was a glaring opportunity and the writer took the road most traveled?