WORLD OF COSMOS
Every single main character (both protagonists and antagonists) must exhibit these four qualities:
Strength: this includes a reason to like and relate to the character, the character's best/redeeming qualities, and positive personality traits.
Weakness: imperfection/flaw in the character's personality that he/she is probably not aware of. This must include an explanation/backstory.
Growth: a character arc (not necessarily overcoming the "weakness"). A positive transformation due to the experiences and lessons learned.
Motive: an important goal that the character is actively pursuing, the main reason why he/she does anything.
There cannot be intentionally annoying/stupid characters that the audience just wants to die.
No simple/easily avoidable misunderstandings. The characters are smart, they can communicate.
Every antagonist must be 3 dimensional, complex, likeable and relatable. Because of that, the main protagonists have to be extremely likeable and relatable for the audience to root for them.
All of the main characters need to actively drive the plot forward at all times, pursuing a goal in which they have a strong, personal, and emotional investment. No character should be dragged along for the ride.
Actions have consequences. If something happens, it has happened, and nothing can change that.
No going back
No "it was all a dream" or "it was all a simulation"
No "we thought something happened but actually it did not" (e.g. someone dies but not really)
Absolutely no Deus Ex-Machina moments in the story. Every plot point has to be set up with a potential to be traced back, possibly even to earlier episodes or seasons.
Only reverse Ex-Machina moments are allowed, where things suddenly break/go bad for unknown reasons. Not to be overdone either.
No scientific mumbo jumbo.
Sci-fi science has to be backed up by real science. Futuristic technology and physics has to be approved by the science consultants.
All the technology has to be theoretically possible. They can be things that do not exist yet, and we have no idea how to create it
Above all else, the story is about Zhe and Nadira. Their journey and their connection. Zhe is a cold, calculating machine that has to learn to be more human and emotional, and Nadira is a passionate, emotional woman, who has to learn to be more strategic and calculating.
The theme is machine vs human, and what it means to be either of those. The pros and cons of each, how they compare, what separates them, and where is the line between.
The story has to consistently follow the central theme, and each character and their choices have to clearly reflect that.
Most episodes end with a cliffhanger, but every 3rd-4th episode ends conclusively to give the audience room to breathe.
The entire series needs a ticking clock. RNA has to succeed within a tight time limit before it is too late. This could be introduced alongside Nadira's appearance.
Avoid side quests. If a plot obstacle has no narrative reason to exist, it should not exist. Not the same as subplots, which support the narrative.
Show, don't tell! No narration/narrator. If a scientific equipment or method is being described, it also has to be visually represented via animation. If a character talks about or mentions an event, it has to be shown on screen.
The writing has to respect the audience's intelligence. There is no need to push every single point down the viewers' throat. This does not mean being ambiguous, just give the minimum amount of necessary information/visual clue to make a point clear, and let the audience figure out what is going on from that. Also, if it can be shown by picture, it should not be said by words.
Philosophical concepts and messages have to be addressed in a smart, not on-the-nose way. No cringe. Less text, more subtext.
Backstories should be set up by first showcasing an existing characteristic, pattern or system, which raises questions, and only when the viewer really want to know more, then it can be explained. It has to be a mystery first.
Exposition has to have crucial importance to the current situation or objective, and always have to be presented visually. Preferably hints should be given beforehand like a few pieces of the puzzle, which is then put together in a moment of importance. E.g. we gradually establish that the spaceship warps space, it needs Moscovium to do that, and creating Mc requires large amounts of energy. Then when the ship breaks, Rassie can explain how the ship actually works, what is broken and how to fix it.
Alternatively, it can be used in small portions as Easter eggs for later episodes.
No flashbacks to scene we have seen already, either visually or with audio. If the audience can remember, it is pointless, if they can't, the scene was not set up well enough.
Each season has to set up at least one major future story line via hints and Easter eggs scattered around the season.
Each season has to have one "exploration episode" focusing strongly on the characters themselves, their backstories, motivations, personalities, emotional states, where they currently are etc.
Here we gather general information about characters, backstories, rules, science, and the overall foundation of the entire story to keep the writing consistent. These can be precise descriptions, or just bullet points & ideas to weave into the story.
Not sure if a line of dialogue fits the character or if a story point is coherent with the established rules? Check to find out.
If you just thought of a great, new idea in any of these categories, click "suggest", and submit it to be reviewed.