Saturday 13 April 2013

A-Z Challenge: L: Lost

What I Learned About Writing from Watching TV aka Justifying my TV Habit.

I had to do Lost for L because man, I love that show. I am not saying Lost was perfect in its writing. Indeed, some of the eventual explanations and plot twists grew so far fetched it did start to feel like they made it up as it went along. Still not sure about that last episode.

But what I did love is the backstory of the characters. The Flashbacks (or Forwards, or whatever in the end). They aided and abetted the plot that week. They helped us understand where the characters were coming from.

It’s important to know your characters backstory. We don’t all have the structural set up to dump whole plot lines of our characters’ backstory in, like Lost does. Indeed too much infodumping in a novel can drown out our plot. But it’s important to know the ‘flashback’ story. What made your character like they are?

Quotes: I'll see ya in another life, brother.

In general FYI I love Desmond. I also have this wee crush on Daniel Faraday which I can’t quite explain.


  1. I've never seen Lost, but I know what you mean about backstory. Sometimes, you're longing to know what happend to cause a character to behave in a certain way. When it comes, you absob the information hungrily.
    A - Z Challenge

  2. I heard about lost but never watched
    But what u told makes sense . The story should be firm with out any loopholes
    Good luck for ur writing career
    Am an aspiring author yet
    Haven't started writing full pledged yet :$

  3. Ahhh I love Lost, and I quite often find myself saying 'see you in another life, brother.' It was a great show, even with the farfetchedness.

  4. Lost could leave it's viewers feeling exactly the same way. Great show.

  5. Francene - yes exactly those bits of info which come are all the more welcome!

    Afshan - thank you, you too!

    Laura - it's a GREAT quote. Now I just want to watch it again.

    Sheena - kay - it was an AWESOME SHOW. ahhh lost.

  6. I recently watched LOST for the first time. I loved the beginning of the series, but, like you, I'm still not sure about the end of it all.

    You're absolutely right about knowing your characters' backstories.

  7. I have never seen Lost. But I know the importance of a good backstory.

  8. I LOVED LOST, but it was a great example of writers who wrote themselves into a corners that they couldn't get out of. :)

  9. I think Lost is one of my favourite programmes ever. Like you, I don't think it answered a lot of important questions, but it certainly gripped me from the first episode. We've just got Netflix and Lost is on there. I watched every episode back to back, over a fortnight, and it was just as good as it was first time around.

  10. Now that the show has ended, I keep meaning to watch all the episodes on NetFlix.
    I always plan out my characters' backgrounds before I begin writing.

  11. back story is one of the hardest parts to write in any story

  12. I agree about liking Lost! It was so interesting, and that's probably because of what you posted. Backstory is so very important and it's equally important to feed it in just right.

    Catching up with my AtoZ Challenge and getting back into the Small Things Hop this week!

  13. That seems to be a big hang up with a lot of writers, myself included: When and how much of a backstory do you give. Some otherwise wonderful books were ruined because of too much backstory. Much of my characters' backstories are blocked together and may be a bit much in one spot, but I saw no better way to do it. I think the stories are interesting, but that's an area I need more work in as well. Writer’s Mark

  14. I love Lost. So glad you mentioned it. Great show, great writing, and the dialog ... just excellent ...
    As far as characters (what made mine the way they are) ... their pasts. Everything I put them through is somehow related to their pasts.
    Great post. Enjoyed being here.
    Silvia @ Silvia Writes

  15. I know the entire backstory for all my characters although I only sprinkle here and there is my stories.

  16. I loved Lost, but did feel a bit cheated by the ending. Not sure what else they could have done with it though.
    Hope you're having a great weekend. :-)

    Short Story Ideas &
    Just Ermie

  17. HOUSE!! oh why oh why did they take my fave show away?? boo hoo! still looking for a replacement for the irreplacable!
    i is for in living color, a great comedy show but didnt last long, jim carrey, jennifer lopez, chris rock, damon wayans, & jamie foxx all started there!
    what about Jeopardy!

    and i need to watch lost, saw bits and pieces, but my kids were too needy for me to watch much tv when it was out...bad timing!
    great job w/the challenge! and i am highlighting you on w day (for weekly support!)

  18. M.J. Fifield - yes for me it was fab - ooh got fabber and then I wasn't sure about it toward the end. Still it will always be a special 'man I loved it' show to me.

    Regina Gort - Backstory is important, even if we just know it in our head!

    DL Hammons - absolutely! I'm not sure they knew at the beginning where they were going and I think they got stuck.

    Rebeccah Giltrow - I LOVED Lost too and I would love to rewatch it all back and see how I enjoyed it the second time. Didn't answer everything no but still so inventive and fun.

    Alex J. Cavanaugh- I would love to rewatch it all!

    sassyspeaks - it's hard to put backstory in without feeling like you are dumping it in, and to drip it in as needs be!

    C. Lee McKenzie - it is difficult to drip it in right, a v. hard balance! See you for small things soon!

  19. Nancy LaRonda Johnson - agreed it is difficult to know how much and how to drip it across a piece.

    Silvia Villalobos - agreed, Lost was a great show. And important to know where your characters have come from and how it influences their present.

    J.L. Murphey - I agree, it's good to know the backstory but just to sprinkle it in.

    Kirsten - I'm not sure either! They sort of got into a corner with it where probably no ending/explanation would have satisfied me!

    Tara Tyler - yes I loved House too, I thought Hugh Laurie was great.

    JEOPARDY! I didn't think of that. You are good with the letters ;)

    Aw bless you thank you I'll visit Wed!

  20. Hello! I haven't ever seen this show, but I remember how popular it was. The story, characterization, and writing was often talked about, so I can see it could be a wonderful show for writers of all genres to learn from.

    Happy A to Z-ing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines

  21. I've never seen the show, but I've heard good things about it. I'll have to look for it. New follower here. I'm stopping by from the "A to Z" challenge and I look forward to visiting again.


  22. Lost is one of those shows I keep meaning to watch on DVD. I feel like I really missed out on something!

  23. Laura - it was a fun show! Thanks for stopping by.

    Sylvia - It's worth a look I'd say. Thanks v. much for visiting!

    Julia - ahhh do if you get a chance ;)

  24. I loved that show. It was a never miss for me.
    A to Z buddy
    Peanut Butter and Whine

  25. Oh yes. Backstory is vital to a writer. It helps us understand our characters' motivation and helps us know how characters are and how they react.

    My Writing Blog
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  26. Connie - ah it was a good show!

    Misha - it is indeed, it's the dripping it in that's the balance to strike.


Please comment, I'd love to know what you think! :)