Learn To Write by Watching Television

If you had asked me ten years ago if I watched and followed any television shows I would have said ‘no’ and it would have been the truth.   I couldn’t be bothered to watch  anything on the small screen when I could catch up with friends, read a good book and browse the web.  Today of course I’m singing a different tune from a comfy corner on the couch.  I am something of a junkie albeit a Netflix ‘binge’ watcher and I probably should feel some shame for watching so much television and here’s why:

I should be writing in my so-called spare time. I have a story to edit (yay I completed the 1st draft of my story set in Downtown Vancouver) and fifteen more chapters (or so) to write for my WIP.

But I’m not embarrassed because watching the below shows has actually improved my storytelling skills and since I am a visual learner, emphasized the basics.   Things like Plot Structure (every good story has a Beginning, a Middle and an End); Setting;  Character Development (personality traits and tics etc) and Pace (cut out the non-essential)It’s got to the point now where I irritate my long-suffering husband with ‘plot predictions’.  I say things like “ok so this is the part where we discover they’re actually siblings or if this character is going to develop and stick around for Season 2, something needs to happen to her that will bring her to her knees or question her loyalty…” The funny thing is I am getting really good at predicting plot twists.  So good in fact my husband thinks I should write for tv.   I think I should just write more.

Here are my favorite TV Shows (in no particular order – I love them all equally but differently):

1.  Sherlock Holmes (the British version with Benedict Cumberbatch)

2.  Game of Thrones ( I am in awe of George RR Martin‘s imagination and skill)

white-walker-300x168 White-walker.

3.  Breaking Bad – read Vince Gilligan’s writing tips here

4.  Lilyhammer

5. The Killing  – Wondrously flawed characters and Season 1 so perfect that I wish I had written every word of it myself.

6.  The Walking Dead (I started watching this zombie drama because my eldest son is hooked and I was curious and well I’m hooked.  If  Daryl Dixon dies I’ll stop watching.  Just saying.)

What television show/s has you hooked? What writing elements have you picked up from watching tv shows/movies?

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15 thoughts on “Learn To Write by Watching Television

  1. I don’t watch TV very often, but I have to agree with Gemma on Breaking Bad. I got entirely sucked into the marathon leading up to the series finale. I started in the middle, so I need to go back and watch from the beginning. I don’t recall ever being that drawn into a series where I had no clue what was going on.

  2. My favorite show is old, but if you have not watched, it is GOOD. Six Feet Under. Watch from the beginning other wise it makes no sense. I got so sucked into it that I actually think they live in Seattle and I could visit them…….

  3. There’s certainly a formula you can pick up from watching tv shows and movies. I recently watched the entire ‘Luther’ series and loved it! it was mainly the characters that intrigued me 😉

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