Wednesday, May 23, 2012

What Season Finales Teach About Series Writing (Part Two: Glee/Once Upon a Time)

Quick Update: Survived Chemistry finals. I think. Erm, if I don't show up tomorrow you know why, how's that?

Song Stuck In My Head: "Through Glass" by Stone Sour. Pandora radio and I have made up.

So, continuing SSF's new series on how those horrible SEASON FINALES could aid as writers...


Yeah, Glee season numero three came to an end last night, with Rachel Berry alone as she sang her way into New York City (and oddly, had no one look at her those whole entire three-four minutes). But in classic Glee style, there was a lot of bouncing back and forth between characters. While with any other show this would be a horrible thing, with so many characters to juggle, there was a decent amount of closure for each main character.

The really surprising was that a lot of the ties on the subplots weren't exactly closed doors. They were opening new ones. So while it managed to end every subplot, it set up the basis for just as many new ones next year.

This is difficult to do in a series, especially with the more characters you juggle. But the important thing is to remember that while this is the end of this story for your main character, it should be the end of a chapter for your other characters too. Sure Rachel is about to go on and be famous at her arts school, but what about Kurt and Blaine? Or Puck graduating? Or Brittany and Santana? Or Coach's baby? Tie up every bow you started, and make sure you have something new to develop on for the next chapter.

Harry Potter translation: How the epilogue somehow manages to cover every character and moreorless what they've been up to the past 19 years.


For all the talk of subplots and side characters, remember, the end of one chapter is when your character gets the moment. After all, the pathway to the next chapter is all theirs.

In Once Upon a Time, the fairy-tale-themed Lost, our season finale really does give us a lot of Emma, the protagonist. She's the daughter of Cinderella and Prince Charming turned private detective who must more or less save the fairy tale people from the curse on them that keeps them trapped in the real world. And after episode and episode of her in denial, not only did Emma come to grips with her destiny but she went heads-on with it.

Heads-on how? Well, let's just say there's a lot of personal revealing. And dragon slaying.

Anyhow, for a lot of the episode, it is just Emma and Emma becoming the hero of the story. Which is all we needed for a season finale, especially with a twist ending that'll cruise us right into season two.

Hunger Games translation: In the end, we do get a lot of one-on-one time with our lovely Katniss and Peeta, until all that's left is the two of them, our two main characters. And Katniss herself has a lot of alone time and self-discovery moments in the end of each book.

Well, that's all for today. Time to go see Phillip Phillips win American Idol.

(That's right. I'll bet money if I must.)


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