Tuesday, January 5, 2010

TODAY'S NUGGET: Get Out of My Sight, Subplot!

Don't you hate it when you're watching tv and someone stands right in front of you? Veerrrry annoying.

Today I had a script whose subplot was standing in the way of the main story. The writer kept going on and on about this VIP subplot, but all I wanted to shout was, "Get out of the way!" so I could watch the main story.

These are the kind of notes that say the same thing:
- The subplot didn't support the main story.
- The subplot didn't intertwine with the main story.
- The subplot should weave around the main story, like a braided rope. Here, there is such a loose braid that it does not hang together.
- There are two distinct stories here. The subplot and main story have nothing (or tangentially) to do with each other.

The subplot should not overshadow the main plot.

This is not earth shattering news. But I do see it in specs.

1) the writer thinks she's conveying one thing, but delivering another, or
2) the writer is trying to shoehorn his story into a genre (ex. there's a request for a horror script, but you wrote a drama and are trying to change the drama to meet the horror request), or
3) the writer didn't realize how far apart the two stories are.

WHAT I'VE LEARNED: The solution is either to:
a) rewrite the subplot so it mirrors the main story, or
b) excise it entirely, which will require you to write another subplot.

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