CWS Exercise: Reordering a plot
Our last session was on plot structure, and our exercise was to rearrange the plot of an existing story so that it would have a different impact on the person reading/watching/etc. I came up with three different rearranged plots:
1) Shadow of the Colossus
This should have been no surprise… But my reordering is this:
The cutscene begins with loads of people – practically a whole civilisation of people – fleeing from the Forbidden Lands. After this, we see the ending cutscene from when Wander is killed by Lord Emon’s men, to when he is reborn in the pool of the Shrine of Worship. Next, we see Mono lying on the altar and Wander looking down at her forlornly. Dormin gives Wander the ask of killing the colossi, and the game progresses as normal, up to and including the ending cutscene that was shown at the beginning. The only difference that is made to the end is that when Lord Emon returns and says that Wander had travelled to the Forbidden Lands and stole the sword, the scene is interspersed with flashes from the original opening cutscene, with Wander travelling to the Forbidden Lands.
This change, I think, would make the player think that Wander was abandoned as a baby when the former citizens of the Forbidden Lands left, Lord Emon and his men among them. The game then skips to the reborn Wander grown up, and his only human companion – Mono – dead. He asks Dormin to restore her soul, and Dormin says that he has to kill the colossi.
It is only once the colossi are dead that you realise that you had seen the end, rather than the beginning, and the start of the game. I think it would make it seem as though Wander was a slightly more honourable character: his decision to accept Dormin’s task was to bring back his only companion in a lifeless land in which he was abandoned, rather than directly going against the orders of his village’s shaman.
2) Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Admittedly, someone else had the idea to move the graveyard scene first, but I put it in a different place to them.
I propose moving the graveyard scene to between the Quidditch World Cup Final and the Death Eaters’ first attack. That way, when the story is at an all-time high in the wake of Ireland’s victory, Harry goes to bed and has a dream where he is facing Voldemort in a graveyard surrounded by hooded figures, where Cedric’s body lies feet away from him, only to wake up in the middle of an attack on the site by the very same hooded figures.
Not that I particularly advocate messing around with Harry Potter, but I still think this would give it a different feel.
This isn’t so much of a reordering of a plot as much as it is a truncation.
Begin Frozen with For the First Time in Forever, and have the entire film from Anna’s POV. Granted, most of the film is already in Anna’s POV, but not all of it. If you cut out the scenes where it’s from Elsa’s POV (and maybe leave some of the ones from Kristoff’s POV), and begin the film after the prologue, the viewer would not know about Elsa’s powers until everyone else did: until she lost control. You wouldn’t know why she’s wearing gloves all the time and why she’s so reluctant – to the point of being outright terrified – to take them off. You wouldn’t know why there hasn’t been any festivities at the castle for years, nor why Anna and Elsa are so estranged from each other.
That, I think, would give the film much more of an air of mystery.