Why “LOST” Works


I finished this roller coaster of a show on May 14, around 10:20 p.m.

I’m not going to spoil it for you, but the ending – it was satisfying. It ended in a place I’m happy with. It didn’t leave me waiting for more because loose ends weren’t tied up (EXCEPT FOR ONE THING THAT I REMEMBER: WHAT WAS JULIET GOING TO TELL SAWYER RIGHT AFTER SHE BLEW EVERYTHING UP AND BEFORE SHE [LOST CONNECTION//ERROR 589006//TRY AGAIN WHEN YOU’VE WATCHED THE SHOW]???????).

It was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen and I’m so thankful it happened. So, what can writers learn from this show?

1] How the diverse cast works

The diverse and muli-racial cast works because there was a reason for there to be people from so many backgrounds. Unlike Once Upon a Time (excuse me, but I cannot stand that show), it made sense for there to be an American, Asian, and Australian in one scene.

OUAT just gives me the impression that they were so desperate for actors that they pulled names out of a hat and gave the part to the (un)lucky winner. (Consistency is key for me.)

LOST, in comparison, had a reason for this difference. It’s logical and each background (whether through personal stories or cultural traditions) contributes to the plot. Sayid knows how to torture because that’s what he grew up around and did for a living. Jin and Sun – we understand how and why they act they way they do because they come from a country where the behavior is very rigid.

2] Common Goals

There’s always conflict. It reflects reality. But each group has a common goal, whether that conflicts with another group’s goal or not.

But the bottom line is: they all need to survive.

All these people – strangers – come together, sacrifice for each other, and work together to stay alive. That’s their common goal. And these strangers need to work out their differences so they can do that. They use their different skill sets, knowledge, and even apply their professions from back home to this mission.

Life is the glue that keeps them together.

3] It’s relatively realistic

Obviously, not all of it. But the fact that there’s no dictator – they all choose to work together, make their own decisions, and contribute in their own ways – is entirely realistic.

Jack keeps them together for a while and creates an efficient unit that focuses on keeping them alive. But that doesn’t stop each of them from doing their own thing.

One of the biggest lessons we can take away from this is the fact that each character is the star of the show. And that’s how a book – any story – should be written. No one sees themselves as the side character in their own lives.

Think about it: you do what you do because that’s what’s best for you (or, at least, what you perceive to be a good thing) or someone you love. It all comes back around to us. Our lives. We can see ourselves as the side character in someone else’s life, but never our own.

Everyone in LOST has their own agenda. Some are better at putting it aside for the common good than others, but they still do what they do to keep themselves alive.

Bullet-point list (because I need one and they’re so organized):

Let’s recap:

  • Point 1: How the diverse cast works:
    • It makes logical sense.
    • They each use their experiences to contribute to the group.
    • Everything they’ve been through has meaning and made them the person they needed to be on the island (except Shannon).
  • Point 2: Common Goals:
    • They need to survive.
    • They do what they need to do to stay alive (except [censored] *cries forever*).
  • Point 3: It’s relatively realistic:
    • Everyone’s their own star of the show. No one just sits out because they don’t want to interfere. They all have their own agendas and worries.
    • There’s no dictator. There are leaders. And everyone has the right to choose who they will follow.

If you write stories, I challenge you to try and work some of these lessons into your WIP.

So, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go wonder what to do with my life now that LOST is over, cry a bit over everyone, get school done, and catch up on the 17 years of sleep I’ve missed.

God bless!

Rana

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