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Precipitating events

So I think I've mentioned this before, but we've been watching the UK show Merlin in our house and we LOVE it. The writing's great, setting and costumes are beautiful, and it's about Camelot so, come on. So this weekend we moved into the third season and something big happened that completely threw me for a loop. Now I will preface this with of course I know the Camelot story, so I knew one of the characters was going to turn evil. And I actually was looking forward to it, to seeing how the writers would move him/her from loving, beautiful character to evil, vindictive character.

But I was so let down. At the end of the second season, some not-good things happen, but nothing earth shattering. So when we started the third season and they opened with "one year later" and all of a sudden the good character was just BAD, I was like, huh? Did I miss something? It was so jarring that I almost went back and watched the last episodes to make sure I hadn't missed something.* In reality, there was no precipitating event. My husband pointed out we didn't know what happened in that missing year, but I argued that wasn't the point. As writers, our job is to tell a seamless story. Events must flow. Characters must make sense. In this case, I felt the writers took the easy way out.** And that taught me a very valuable lesson, which will now be ingrained in my mind: there must always be a precipitating event. One that truly makes sense. Because otherwise you'll confuse a reader so badly, he or she will be pulled right out of your story.

And that's definitely not what you want to happen.

In other news...

18224 / 33712 words. 54% done!





*Only a few days passed between watching episodes; I had not missed anything.
**Unless this is all explained in a later episode. If so then I apologize. But really...why would you wait to explain what motivated such a big character change?!?!