Monday, March 2, 2015

Plot Layering

This last fall, I had a chance to watch "House of Cards" on Netflix, and I've been hooked ever since.  For those of you who haven't seen the show, it centers on it's main character, Frank Underwood, who, at the beginning of the series, is the Democratic House Majority Whip.  He helped President Walker get into office, who had promised Frank the Secretary of State position for his help, but then screws him over when he makes it into office.  This, of course, doesn't sit well with Frank Underwood who is revealed quickly to a man whose bad side you do not want to be on.  From that moment on, Frank is on a mission to make the President pay for his mistake all while still bloodily clawing his way up the ladder.

It's everything I love in a good dramatic story:  intrigue, dynamic dialogue, fascinating characters, and a touch of evil.  What stands out most, however, is the complexity of the plot line.  There are a lot of things going on that require the writer to have done extensive research.  On top of that, the plot layering that goes on in the series can only be successfully pulled off by some of the best.

In print form, one of my favorite authors is Stieg Larsson (R.I.P.).  Why?  Same reason.  His books are filled with a tapestry of fascinating plots upon plots that are believable, fantastically well-written, and suck you right in to the story.  It's a gift that not many people can pull off.  Writing a plot with some sub=plots is normal, but to put the level of complexity within that occur in "House of Cards" and the Millennium Trilogy is difficult and deserves accolades for doing it well.


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