31
Aug
08

Beyond the Planning: Maintaining the Plot

I’ve been working on developing the underlaying plot for Beyond the Tree lately; sure, much of it has been established already, but there were a few sudden late additions that suddenly came to me as I realized how good an idea it seemed at the time with how things were set up and that had a huge array of potential for character interaction and development. Personally I think it’s a really good idea, but so far it’s also meant that I’ve spent a great deal of time lately just thinking of the reasons and potential behind it. Does it make sense enough to people other than me, do I have clear reasoning as to how it happens, why it happens and how it affects the people involved.

And does it actually make things better.

For all the premise of being a light-hearted production, Beyond the Tree is anything but light on planning as far as the plot is concerned. There’s the overall outline – the core duo that forms the very heart of Beyond the Tree and how they interact with eachother and the world as their situation keeps changing. There’s the primary plot arcs – the one that we’re on now, the one that’ll come after, the mini-arc that’ll be placed between them.. and then there’s multiple character arcs and some short events I want to sneak in somehow in a few varied places..

And we still have several cast members that haven’t even been introduced yet that I’m already trying to plan and develop for so they have parts to play later on when they are around. Te’len Nila is only the first among several, and that’s still not counting regular occasionals like, say, Tyrande Whisperwind who we only get to see every so often and who are still very important to some underlaying developments that otherwise may only be hinted at.

In an effort to sort out the overall plot line to seperate old ideas from new ideas and have more of a singular path than a whole lot of loose ideas I started a new document to write down outlines and rough timelines of various major-, minor- and sub-arcs I want to have going, when they’ll show up and what the purpose is with them. In spite of the duo themselves spending alot of time trying to avoid responsibility, I’m trying to maintain Beyond the Tree as a world where actions have consequence – if a plot arc or particular event leads somewhere or causes something major, then that development have to stick with the series in a resonably believable way as long as is prudent. If Hani and Tiny makes a bridge explode that bridge isn’t going to un-explode, it’ll stay demolished until someone repairs it and builds a new one, and people might still remember them as the duo who made the bridge explode.

And this is important.

I do acknowledge that one of the core things that makes Beyond the Tree stand out on its own isn’t so much story as it is the way it – and the resulting character interactions – are portrayed. I personally think that any story is at its heart full of stereotype and cliché – this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s only a bad thing if that’s all it is. Beyond the Tree is full of sterotypes and clichés and all manner of old and readapted material just about everywhere, why change what works? The thing – I’d like to think – that keeps Beyond the Tree afloat is how it handles and depicts the material itself.

Though while it’s the interactions themselves that likely sell Beyond the Tree at large – the story is still highly important to me. Character interactions that seem without purpose or reason can easilly come across as shallow or broken which would be just as damaging as the expressions themselves not being there would be. If two characters display emotion to oneanother, be it joy, grief, rage, hate, disdain or love, I want both the emotions and the reasons for them possible to read and understand. And while I might try to throw people off the trail for a bit from time to time, eventually I want people to see developments as they come and atleast eventually feel that “Yes. This makes sense.”.

Here’s to hoping the plot won’t be tripping over itself and simply become a convulted mess.

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