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Write a Story That’s As Captivating As Oblivion

May 8, 2013
Oblivion (2013)

Oblivion (2013)

I’ve seen many science fiction movies, and in my opinion, most of them of this century just suck.

But every once in a while, something comes out that really blows my mind, with no warning, with no hype.

Some examples are Dark City, Minority Report, and the Island.

Now, after watching Oblivion, I have no choice but to add it to the list.

I have to admit that this is an awesome movie.

Really, if you consider yourself a science fiction fan, you owe it to yourself to watch this movie.

The only thing I wished was that they gave the enemy more of a culture, but that would give a movie already with a perfect 10/10 a 12/10, which, I guess, is not necessary.

And seeing that the writers only had 2 hours to work with, they did an amazing job.

Have you ever tried to write a story that was this captivating, but didn’t quite make the cut?

Want to know what’s the difference between yours and the story of this amazing movie?

Let’s take a look. Note that there are no spoilers here, so feel free to read, then go watch this awesome movie.

The World

The world of Oblivion is just amazing. It’s a post apocalyptic earth, and while that’s been done over and over before, this movie manages to pull it off with style.

Everything is in ruins, but to the point where nature has almost completely taken over, leaving earth looking more like a continuous mix of forests and deserts than the rusty old buildings you usually see in these types of movies.

You feel a sense of awe when you see a football goal post in the middle of a vast rocky plain, or a gorgeous waterfall pouring out of a towering building.

Your world does not need to be the remnants of society, but putting this much detail and portraying it from a different angle can help with getting readers into the story.

Is it based in a real city? Don’t make the buildings look like dry empty coconut husks along the streets. Try to add some life and culture.

Where do you get the best hotdogs? Where is the nightlife? Where can you go to get merchandise at great prices? This might involve actually going there and taking in the sights.

Maybe you could display an angle of the city that is not usually highlighted.

But don’t just jump into details. Remember, there is a story to tell, and you don’t want to bore the reader. So work the scenes into your plot and make sure the world leaves a lasting impression.

The Plot Twist

I’m a strong believer in the plot twist. Nothing keeps me wanting to know what’s next than when something crazy and unpredictable happens, which is exactly how the plot unfolds in Oblivion.

I started to feel like I was going a bit crazy when the mysteries and questions started building up, which was probably how the protagonist felt.

There’s no formula for when to twist the plot. It can happen in the middle or the end. But when it happens, you are going to blow readers away.

Not sure how to twist your plot? Take a look at where your story is going, then just introduce a brick wall that makes it completely impossible to go that way, forcing another direction, like how a river progresses when it’s blocked.

And if you’re still not sure, you can always just kill a character.

The Impossible Solution

So you’re coming to the climax, and a solution to solve all problems has been discovered. Every character knows what they must do. It’s incredibly hard, but the plan is feasible.

Just as they are about to get the show on the road, or in the middle of carrying it out, something goes terribly wrong. Suddenly, the solution is no longer possible. Nobody can see how to fix things, and everything is doomed.

At this point, the reader can’t put down your story. How are they going to solve this? It’s possible that not even you, the writer, knows.

This has been done in several movies before: Armageddon had the malfunctioning remote detonator, Pirates of the Caribbean had the heart of Davy Jones falling into the wrong hands, the Matrix had the source that was suppose to end the war. And Oblivion is no exception.

For this to work, you need some serious brainstorming to come up with a plausible solution (please, no God Out of the Machine solutions). But when you come up with a good answer, everyone will nod their heads, completely satisfied with the ending.

So what do you think about captivating the reader? Let me know in the comments. And if you haven’t already, click here to read Scene from a Nightmare, the latest trailer of my upcoming book, King Larsen.

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From → Writing Tips

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