The art of telling a story. Telling your reader (or the audience) enough to keep them happy while maintaining enough mystery to draw them along. Some people do this well, others less so. I hope to be in the former category this year with my NaNoWriMo project, “Benton’s Irregulars”.
There’s some good stuff on TV at the moment, some great storytelling – and some pretty poor as well.
On repeat on “Really” at the moment, this story of 3 Bristol housemates (who happen to be a werewolf, a vampire and a ghost) is one of the best series to hit TV in years – the British one, of course. Not seen the US remake yet. Anyway. Before episode 1 is done you know there are 3 types of supernatural creature, you know about the emnity between vampires and werewolves, you know that something big is happening in the background and you’ve had enough laughs and gore to come back for more next week. The characters are likeable – even the main villain gives you a warm, fuzzy, feeling inside before ripping out your throat. I’ve seen all 3 seasons of this show, and the pilot episode and if I ever write TV I want it to be this good.
End of season 1. Problems resolved, answers received, small teaser for season 2 should funding be made available but no great problem if it isn’t. Ditto seasons 2 and 3. If they’d cancelled it at the end of season 2, Id’ve been screaming “You can’t leave it there” at the TV but would soon have got over it. I did with Firefly (Though how they could cancel Firefly and keep some of the other shite alive is beyond me).
7 seasons, no answers. I gave up. I promised myself that if someone told me after the final episode “Ah, that all makes sense now.” then I’d invest the time and watch the whole damn thing end to end. No-one has, so I haven’t.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan. I know enough Whovian trivia to keep my kids entertained for days and my wife in her well-practiced “Oh, for goodness sake” shrug. But the last couple of series have fallen foul of having a far-too-complex metaplot. The standalone episodes (The Doctor’s Wife, for example) still shine. The episode with James Corden and the Cybermen exceeded my expectations. But the arc-story took far too much space. Bring back the old format – standalone stories, 3 or 4-parters, longer episodes. That’s me harking back to the halcyon days of my youth when Tom Baker was The Doctor. He still is.
The Not Sure Yet
Spoiler Alert if you’ve not seen the show yet.
I like it when the BBC try their hand at SF/Fantasy/Horror. I really do. I admire their tenacity. Not everything is going to be a Being Human or a Doctor Who. Unfortunately, when they fail it’s going to be expensive and set the cause back years. Just look at last year’s “Outcasts.” My goodness that was appalling.
Anyway. The Fades. End of episode 1 you know you’ve got a special kid, you’ve got ghosts that hang around (the eponymous Fades) and you’ve got Angelics (though they’re not explained, which is fair enough as it’s only episode 1). You’ve also got birds dropping out of the sky, sometimes en-masse. Moving on you’ve got the special kids getting more special, the Fades killing and eating people to bring themselves back from the dead and you’ve got internal continuity issues. The Fades have killed quite a few folk now (end of Ep 5) but the ghosts of these deceased haven’t shown up. Maybe they’ll explain it – if you’re killed for food that’s it, you don’t get a ghost – more likely they’ve forgotten and the ghost F/X are expensive. Did I make a cuppa and miss the bit where they explained the birds? And there’s no media circus. All these missing people, earth tremors, a high profile murder investigation and not one TV crew have shown up.
They’ve got 1 episode to sort this out. 1 episode to wrap everything up in a suitably conclusive manner. I reckon they’re pinning their hopes on a season 2 and they’re going to sort out nothing. I hope I’m wrong.
Anyway. I know what I’m aiming for – beyond the obvious 50,000 words in November. I’ve got a plan. I’ve got some truly dreadful jokes. And I hope I can hit more Being Human than Lost.