Thursday, October 29, 2015

Do you watch TV shows with the sole intention of learning how to be a better writer?

I can say yes to most of that statement but I wouldn’t be telling the truth if I said yes unconditionally. Mainly because my sole intention isn’t only to observe the show from a writer’s point of view, many times, it’s how I veg out after a busy 8 -10 hour day. I like to be entertained and not have to think about anything.

Give my overworked, mushy brain a rest. Lie back in my easy chair and be a slug.

Except most times, I start paying attention to how the characters are being portrayed, the ways they interact with each other. Their quirky little tells that they perform so the viewers know what they’re feeling. The ways they move and their actions that show me how they feel.

The dialogue on a top-rated show is also a fabulous way to learn a few pointers. How characters talk so that that their conversation flows and they don’t sound stilted or fake. That’s not an easy thing to accomplish when writing a book. It’s true, some authors have a talent for writing dialogue but most of us have to work damn hard so that it reads realistically.

It’s amazing how gifted many of the television actors are and the roles they have to play. Today, there’s a huge range of shows to choose from - everything from situation comedies to police action, throw in some fire fighters and doctors and there’s not much missing.

Lately, I’ve been making notes from some of my shows of remarks FBI agents or police officers might use in the line of duty. I write down information that could be useful for me to research for one of my books. Because I write suspense, I like to make lists of references to weapons and procedures they make but I also know they take literary license and many shows are notoriously inaccurate and so I research my notes before I actually use them. On the other hand, I wouldn’t have even known such things existed if I hadn’t have seen it on TV.

So it’s a fine way for me to learn and I’d be fool if I didn’t pay attention at least sometimes… of course that’s before the snoring starts........seriously!!

These are my favorite shows –the ones I tape so I can watch them each week. Scandal , Gray’s Anatomy, The Good Wife, Castle, The Blacklist, Quantico,  Law & Order (Special Victim’s Unit), Chicago PD, Chicago Fire, Outlander & Blindspot.  
What are your favorite shows you like to watch?


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