Although we’re not done with the rough draft yet, its pretty obvious that there are some things we’ll need to patch up in editing. One of the most profuse problems (and probably due to the fact that we’re two separate people which highly similar although slightly desperate visions) is a Deus Ex Machina sheen that sorta permeates the entire thing.
As of the current rough draft, we have a lot of important characters and plot elements that appear the moment they’re needed by the plot, then get abandoned like a red-headed stepchild the moment they’ve served their usefulness. This is mostly due to focus during the rough draft. Premature optimization is a dangerous thing, in both Computer Science and writing. Focus on the details too soon, and you’ll miss the forest for the trees.
What I’d like to do (as we edit and polish and all that good jazz) is reference plot elements before they’re actually used, and then bring them back up again when they’re needed. Elements can also be referenced later on for a joke or a bit of world building or whatever. I’d like to push us away from looking like a bunch of lazy ancient Greeks and closer to Checkov’s Emporium.
To quote the man himself:
“If you say in the first chapter that there is a rifle hanging on the wall, in the second or third chapter it absolutely must go off. If it’s not going to be fired, it shouldn’t be hanging there.”
We need to talk about our rifles more, rather than just having characters pull them out of their butts when required. So, clearly, need to look at a master of the plant– a true master of setting things up, a work of fiction so full of references that they’ll plant a plot element only to use it a minute later, something like…
Oh. Um. Avert ye eyes, children! Tis a dark and dangerous black magik at work here!
Actually, I swear pretty regularly in my posts and have already brought up other not really safe for children material (unless you think graphic ritual sacrifice is family friendly), so… well, time to scar some poor kid for life.
Despite being very, very adult, and very irreverent, Rick and Morty is a master of plants. Just watch the first minute and a half on an episode (which isn’t actively racist or sexist, so it’s pretty tame):
That’s a throw-away line that comes in full circle for a joke (and to advance the plot) before we even see the title card. Clearly, the show’s writers are teaching a master class on what I want to learn. The big problem is to stop laughing so I can actually pay attention.
My taste in humor is crass. I’m not proud.
So far, I’ve only seen three episodes, and again, I struggle to turn on the analysis part of my brain when I’m having so much fun, but there is something of a pattern here. Rick and Morty will drop a line or event that seems almost out of context or just blabble-y. Sometimes its so random its giggle-worthy just for being so unexpected (I’m pretty sure that’s why Superjail is going on it’s 4th season). However, that one line will come back as a plot element (usually coupled with some sort of punchline, because this is TV to make you laugh).
However, I really don’t think this is a thing I can template out and plug-and-chug my way through. I’m sure that there are tons of way to bring up plot elements before the fact, and gracefully slip them in and out when needed.
Meanwhile, i’m gonna go grab a beer and laugh some more.