In which we talk about two things that could not decide on a plot line: a recent first draft of mine and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.
Let’s start off with Fallen Kingdom, given you probably have more knowledge of it than my first draft (considering like…no one has read it).
This is the progression of the plot:
This is about whether or not dinosaurs deserve the same rights as animals. This is about saving cute dinos (let’s ignore all the times they ate people). Oh, there’s a random rich guy who looks like he’s going to woo Claire away from Owen. This is about Owen and Claire’s relationship. This is about jerks who want to genetically engineer more dinos. This is about selling dinos and the greed of Russian billionaires. This is about this new scary dino. This is about needing Blue’s blood. This is about this kid that is genetically engineered. This is about letting the dinos die. But they don’t, and they are loosed upon the world where we get a rather apocalyptic ending with a voice over by Jeff Goldblum talking about how the human race may all get eaten by dinos, and Claire and Owen are driving and looking grim and scared, while the girl has this smirk on her face as she watches the Pterodactyls fly. END.
That’s how it felt at the end of the movie. In fact, everyone watching with me pretty much jumped off the couch yelling, “WHAT?”
It. Could. Not. Stick. With. Something.
It needed tying up of loose ends. Claire and Owen’s relationship. The genetically engineered girl. All loose, dangling ends.
It also needed a theme. Theme is what the story is about. I personally never focus on theme. Like, ever. But when I read a book or watch a movie, I can tell you whether it has a theme or not. I can’t tell you what the theme is, but I can tell whether there is one.
Now, my own first draft had this problem, my fantasy Oh, Wonder Why the Sun Fell. After I initially finished the draft, I was on a high. I thought it was AMAZING. IT WAS SO GOOD.
Then I picked it back up several months later.
I read through it in one night, put the MS down on my lap and said, “What????”
It was…a mess. It’s not that there wasn’t a plot, or that the characters didn’t have motivation. There were plenty of motives. Just…the story kept going in different directions. First it was they need to do this, then they needed to do this instead, but then they actually needed to do this, and suddenly the ending was about something totally different.
What am I even talking about here, you ask? Just complaining about things? Kind of.
Really, I’m just trying to make a point. You can have as many subplots as you want, but there must be a single plot. Lord of the Rings has LOT of things happening, but the plot is still is consistent, destroy the Ring.
It’s like if the Lord of the Rings started with them wanting to destroy the Ring, but they end up wanting to assassinate Sauron, but then they do that, and there ends up being a war between Gondor and Rohan.
You’d be like, “What???”
Don’t do that. Just…Don’t