Lost in LOST

from CJ

It's Tuesday which means one less LOST episode until the series finale. I've been a fan of LOST from the start-- but not one of those obsessed with all the literary/religious/quantum physics/mythic allusions and hints to the final secret.

And I'm not one of those obsessed with star Josh Holloway's rock-hard abs...well, maybe just a little obsessed, I mean look at the man!

Mainly I've been fascinated by studying how the LOST creators and writers have weathered five seasons of a story arc. My interest peaked when I read an article after LOST's first season that said that JJ Abrams, Jeffrey Lieber, and Damon Lindelof, the creators, had envisioned it as a three season, 75 episode story.

But after it became a cult hit its first season, ABC asked them to stretch that 75 episode story by half again, to 115 episodes.

As a writer, this boggled the mind. And, honestly, it explains some of the diversionary, "jump the shark" story lines that littered seasons two and three...but last season and this season even those trivial story lines are being integrated into the tapestry of the whole. (I particularly got a chuckle when Miles was asked if he wanted to leave the island and said, "Are you kidding, I'm sitting on top of a grave with eight million in diamonds buried in it.")

Which just goes to show that when you're a writer, everything and anything can become relevant and useful. Especially for someone like me, a seat of the pants writer who doesn't plot ahead. You never know what seed you sowed early on that becomes crucial to the climax.

I just turned in my next Angels of Mercy book, CRITICAL CONDITION. This is the finale of the series, wrapping up all four main characters' stories, including answering all the questions I've left unanswered.....only problem was that when I began writing this book, I didn't know all the answers myself!

I envisioned this book as being a break-neck thriller, taking place in "real time"--think Die Hard in a hospital--and knew that even my usual tightly woven timelines would be tested. So, since I needed to know the answers to those pesky questions (like who killed Lydia's mom and why?) I began at the end of the book and literally wrote it backwards!

This enabled me to juggle the four story lines with split second precision, keeping the tension high and the pace taut. And I discovered that many of the answers had actually been seeded in previous books--my subconscious mind working overtime, setting up events I didn't even know I needed when I wrote those books!

Talk about serendipity!!!

I suspect that the writers of LOST found themselves similarly amused by their own subconscious minds as they wrote these final episodes and discovered that from the very beginning, they really had laid the foundation for all the wonderful twists and turns and spins and jumps into alternative, parallel universes....

Which is why telling stories for a living just can't be beat!

So you tell me--what do you think the Island is? Who's your favorite LOST character (Desmond has my vote, poor guy!) and what do you want to see happen to them in the finale?

Meanwhile, here's a peak behind the scenes of how JJ Abrams's mind works--fun, isn't it?

Thanks for reading,
About CJ:
As a pediatric ER doctor, CJ Lyons has lived the life she writes about in her cutting edge suspense novels. Her debut, LIFELINES (Berkley, March 2008), became a National Bestseller and Publishers Weekly proclaimed it a "breathtakingly fast-paced medical thriller."

The second in the series, WARNING SIGNS, was released January, 2009 and the third, URGENT CARE, October, 2009. Her newest project is as co-author of the first in a new suspense series with Erin Brockovich. To learn more about CJ and her work, go to http://www.cjlyons.net


  1. CJ - I'm a pantser myself, and I haven't the slightest idea how the plotters manage to come up with all the intricate plot pieces ahead of time. They always reveal themselves to me as I go. Which, as you've mentioned, is one of the huge perks of writing - being the first person to go 'wow' as the story is told.

    I haven't followed Lost closely enough to have any sort of clue as to the big answers, but I've watched episodes here and there and have most enjoyed how the show deals with character development. I'm a huge fan of backstory, and Lost gives us lots of that.

  2. I agree, Julia, how LOST manages backstory so it doesn't slow the forward pace is brilliant! Authors could definitely learn something from them on that!

    Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Wow, I can't imagine how the writers had to scramble if they had to squeeze in two extra seasons and still keep the plot coherent! Mind-boggling.

    Unfortunately, I never got into the series, Lost. The violence threw me in the first episode and that ended that. Oh, well!

    Congrats on wrapping up your own series though, CJ!! Very cool. Fascinating to hear of your work process.


  4. Great post CJ! I've never watched LOST. I know - that must come as a surprise - when it came on that first season I chose to watch Heroes instead. Bad choice - I dumped heroes in Season Two because it went all wonky for me. But I was at a luncheon once where the exec. producer of 24 was speaking and he said - if you think that the writers of Lost or 24 have everything planned and plotted out for the entire duration of the show - you're wrong. So many things change and they have to go with the flow - which is tough because in series like LOST where you have a very specific vision that you've created it's tough to change that part way through and add other elements because of the kind of show it is. But for your average comedy or drama - with self-contained eps - the show tends to get better as the seasons progress. Anyway - it's all fascinating though! And your book sounds so cool - along with your writing process. How brilliant! ;)


Post a Comment

We would love to hear from you but hope you are a real person and not a spammer. :)

Popular Posts