Good Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV structure, or What Would Buffy Do?
A friend recently had a writing assignment to turn in an outline for a “genre” show. (I hate that term, but more on that another time.) He’s not much of a sci-fi and fantasy person, and so felt he wouldn’t be able to write for a monster-a-week show. He didn’t know enough about monsters. I pointed out that one gets to make up whatever rules are needed, so no actual knowledge is required. I figured I should share it here with you, the world, because what else do I have to blog about today?
BASIC MONSTER-A-WEEK TV SHOW STRUCTURE:
1.) Someone gets attacked. Someone else glimpses the attacker. It was a bee monster. A bee monster?!? That can’t be right. Wait is that… honey?
2.) A librarian/engineer/wizard points out that there actually are quite a few references to bee monsters over here in my giant pile of books about monsters. No one believes librarian/engineer/wizard.
3.) While the heroes are engaged in a subplot, and a bee monster shows up and kicks everyone’s ass real hard. Holy shit, a bee monster!
4.)Hero to librarian/engineer/wizard, I need you to find out everything you possibly can about bee monsters, like, yesterday.
5.) Romantic subplot.
6.) I hate to interrupt your romance, Hero, but I the librarian/engineer/wizard have learned a super secret about bees by looking in my extra good pile of monster books, which I always reserve for Act IV. I am never allowed to know secrets during earlier battles.
7.) Hero beats up bee monster using librarian/engineer/wizard’s knowledge. Climactic battle that couldn’t have been won without Knowledge!
8.) Huh. Turns out there were bee monsters all along. Let’s put a cutesie bow on our romantic subplot.
Point is, actual mythology doesn’t need to say a damn thing. You can create the rules to your monster, and elude to things about it from actual history in #2, but then give it a name and weakness and details (that you make up) in #6. After all, your librarian/engineer/wizard has better books than any real person, so whatever Knowledge you put in them will be the official rules of your universe, mundane-world mythology notwithstanding.