I’ve always believed that even the least interesting plots can become great stories. It all depends on the execution. A good plot can be bad if it’s badly written or paired with shoddy acting/cinematography/artworks/characterization/gameplay/whathaveyou. On the other hand, even bad boring holey plots can be a great piece of art provided it’s presented the right way (see also my rambles on The Lion’s Song).
I write stories. That’s a bit of an exaggeration considering I haven’t finished any stories in ages. Plots are always my weakness. I can make the elements; I think I’m reasonably well at writing scenes and building worlds and creating characters, but I can’t really do anything with them that’s interesting. I can’t plan ahead when I’m writing, so it’s always just, start with an interesting premise and see where it goes. Most of the time it never really gets anywhere, which is kind of frustrating.
I recently watched the film Assassin’s Creed, finally. I’ve been a fan of the video game series for a while, but couldn’t manage to watch it when the film first came out. It was a massive disappointment. It was boring. It tries too hard at being mysterious. It’s too bland, too greyed out. The characters are empty voids they haplessly tries to put one-liners on. The scenes that were set in the Spanish Inquisition were so colourless, such a letdown after the historical spectacles in the games.
Good plots can be terrible films if they’re handed badly, and looking at its story beats, the story could have been a good one. Not something groundbreaking, but decent, more decent than the soulless flick we have.
So, as a fun side project, I’m trying to write an adaptation of the film. It follows the same plot. Not even “roughly the same plot”, but the same plot. The scenes play out differently, but it still follows the same beats. I was going to note down what lessons I’ve learned from it, but I’ve forgotten most of it while rambling here. Dang it, me.
One thing, though: writing this has been much easier than my latest attempts at writing a story. Sure, I still too often get distracted by Twitter and wiki-walking. But it’s good to have a sense of direction, to look at what I’ve written and knowing exactly what goes next and what will happen after that and after that, all the way to the end.
So, yeah, I guess. If you have a writer’s block like I do, it’ll be much easier to at least know what will be behind the wall. I’ve so often tried to overcome that block by writing around it, or in other words by, frankly, meandering. It doesn’t go anywhere, it just gives me a headache.
So. Plan ahead, I suppose. Can’t make a story with just a bunch of interesting characters in an interesting world with interesting tools if you don’t know what to do with them. I haven’t really figured it out myself, but I hope I will.