Sunday, August 1, 2010

Writing, Writing, Everywhere and So Many Drops to Drink

I love how writing is relevant to so many things.

Take, for example, a Sex and the City episode. (I've been reading television writers' blogs to gain some insight on their process and as it turns out, there are a lot of similarities.)

I noticed that all of the characters remain consistent, whether it's through their dialogue or their actions. Charlotte is the romantic, Miranda is practical and cynical, Samantha provides comic relief and a direct foil to Charlotte, while Carrie is a balancing force among all of them.

(P.S. While I'm rambling, I thought I'd share an interesting difference I read about in show writing vs. novel writing. In television, it is more acceptable to throw in a random event or character for the sake of moving an episode forward or even making a finale more dramatic. Novels usually adhere to the same people and places.)

Same goes for the best movies. Even one like the Lion King provides Simba, the main character, with external conflict (his father passing away, his uncle trying to gain control of the kingdom) along with internal conflict (his own fear of inadequacy, guilt for thinking he killed his father). Most of all, there is a goal, which compels a viewer to keep watching.

How was writing changed your perspectives? Do you view other forms of entertainment differently?


  1. Oh yes! When I watched an episode of LOST, I'd think about how they developed the characters through their actions and their backstories. And how they kept the series going through unanswered questions.

    I love the Lion King. It had the perfect external/internal conflict going on and really tore at my heart.

  2. The Lion King rules. There. I said it.

    Since I watch a lot of TV, that's usually what teaches me about character development, pacing, and plot. I just did a post on how Jersey Shore can help writers *face palm*

    So yeah, writers can learn from anything, as long as they're open to the lesson.

  3. Yes, definitely! I'm always thinking about films and how the screenwriters approached the story. Often I find myself thinking about a way they could've made a scene stronger or the story more cohesive. It's great practice, reminding me of what I want to avoid in my own work, or what I should do instead to develop my writing better.

  4. Sure do. Even reading. I picked up a library book of an author I've read on and off for years. This is the first book I've picked up since I've started seriously writing.

    I'm not as impressed as I was before. I see contrived events all through the writing. It's funny how we become so aware of the details.

  5. I agree with Amparo, about writers being able to learn from anything as long as they're open to the lesson.

    Television is actually a great resource for those writing novels. I look at each episode as a chapter in a book. Do they hook you from the beginning? What about character development? Is the story plot driven or character driven? How many questions are answered along the way, and how many are saved for the end?

  6. I like the foil characters, and sassy heroines whether its TV or novel, but I have noticed similarities, maybe that's why they are able to turn novels into movies because of so many similarities in plot and character.

  7. Whenever I read a book, or see a movie or TV show, I'm always analyzing the plot and tension now. It's funny, I'll elbow my hubbie and go, "That is a classic cliff-hanger!" or something else. He's used to it now.