Home Contact Biography Works Media News

Jane Recommends
Who Hates Whom / Bob Harris

Who Hates Whom: Well-Armed Fanatics, Intractable Conflicts, and Various Things Blowing Up A Woefully Incomplete Guide by Bob Harris

"The geopolitical equivalent of scorecards that get hawked at ball games. Only Bob could make a user’s guide to our increasingly hostile world this absorbing, this breezy, and—ultimately—this hopeful."
~ Ken Jennings, author of Brainiac


Jane in Print
Serenity Found: More Unauthorized Essays on Joss Whedon's Firefly Universe, edited by Jane Espenson

Flirting with Pride and Prejudice: Fresh Perspectives on the Original Chick-Lit Masterpiece, edited by Jennifer Crusie and including Jane Espenson's short story, "Georgiana"

Finding Serenity: Anti-Heroes, Lost Shepherds and Space Hookers in Joss Whedon's Firefly, edited by Jane Espenson and Glenn Yeffeth

Jane in DVD

Jane in DVD

Now Available:
+Battlestar Galactica Season 3
+Dinosaurs Seasons 3 & 4
+Gilmore Girls Season 4
+Buffy: The Chosen Collection
+Tru Calling
+Angel: Limited Edition Collectors Set

Jane in Progress


Home » Archives » November 2006 » Giving with One Hand, Taking with the Same Hand
[Previous entry: "When Zeit Met Geist"] [Next entry: "sdrawkcaB gnitirW"]

11/02/2006: Giving with One Hand, Taking with the Same Hand

Hey, Gentle Readers, our little blog-shaped project here got a nice shout-out from Jacob, the amazing recapper at TelevisionWithoutPity who does the masterly job with Battlestar Galactica. Thanks for the mention, Jacob! I'm a fan!

In the same recap, Jacob uses the phrase: "Everything you want, in the worst possible way." This is an extremely important element of good storytelling, and I find myself surprised I haven't talked about it before. Giving the audience everything they want, while stabbing them in the eyes at the same time, isn't just a Battlestar trick, it was one of our storytelling staples at Buffy too, and it should be in your bag of tricks as well.

The classic Buffy example, of course, was giving Buffy and Angel their lovely moment of happiness. Everything the audience wanted! And then revealing that that very moment of happiness had condemned Angel to lose his precious soul. The worst possible way!

If you can find a way so that your spec culminates in a moment like this... it will be delicious. It works for (your more poignant flavors of) comedy, it works for drama... it adds a lovely angsty touch to any meal.

I'm trying to think of other effective examples I've seen: Sela Ward saves House's life (Wanted!) and loses his love and trust (Worst!). Pam doesn't marry Roy (Wanted!), but Jim's already gone (Worst!). Orpheus gets Eurydice (Wanted!), but he turns around too soon. (Worst!) Arrgh! It hurts so good!

To do this, set up a goal. Make sure it's clear that this goal trumps everything. Then figure out a way to fulfill that goal but at the cost of something else. Something vital. Something the gambler didn't even know they were putting out on the table.

It's the classic deal with the Devil, and you, the writer, get to be the Devil.

Have fun!

Lunch: turkey burger


Get Blog Updates Via Email

Enter your Email

Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz


Walt Disney Writing Fellowship Program
UC Berkeley
Jane recommends you also visit BobHarris.com



November 2006

Valid XHTML 1.0!

Powered By Greymatter
Greymatter Forums

Home | News | Works | Biography | Frequently Asked Questions

Site design Copyright © PM Carlson
This is a fan site owned and operated entirely by PM Carlson with the cooperation and assistance of Jane Espenson. This site is not affiliated in any way with Mutant Enemy, 20th Century Fox or ABC.