Despite the fiction writer's different medium, there is much to learn from Lost. During my MFA, when I read for fiction workshops, often having to prod myself along to the end, I wished my colleagues had spent more time watching Lost.
- Two sides to every story.
- When characters interact, the reader should know backstory that impacts the interaction that the characters don’t.
- The Run Into the Jungle Screaming Rule OR when in doubt have someone freak out to get the plot moving.
- Forge strange alliances.
- Break them.
- Keep all characters on the verge of mental breakdown.
- Have story elements that make no sense. This makes people tense and they will complain vehemently but they love it.
- Once in a while toss in a random goodie, like a candy bar or a baby. Or a jumpsuit!
- The Hurley “Dudes, this is stupid. Can’t we just…” Rule OR Have a character who speaks for the common man. This gives voice to the impotent reader. But...
- ...under no circumstance shall characters listen to reasonable suggestions.
- Have a super awesome unique setting that is crucial to the plot.
- Enclose people in tight enclosed spaces and force them to interact.
- Fight! Fight! Fight!
The scary part is I could keep going and going. But I’m out of coffee and I’m going to stop here. Please feel free to add your lesson from Lost below.