How Watching TV Can Make You A Better Writer
Lets be honest: we all love watching TV. However, we are far too familiar with the guilt that comes along with binge watching our favorite shows instead of writing. Well, I am here to make you feel a little less guilty about your six-hour Netflix sessions. It turns out that watching TV can actually make you a better writer. I know — big news — so let me explain.
Watching TV will help you improve your overall plot. One major component of any TV show is a plot that can continue throughout an entire series. This type of plot must be able to expand, bend and twist while still staying true to the way it began. Suspense plays a major part in it as well. Knowing when and where to end each episode and season takes serious skill. To observe the way the writers and producers of a show do this can help us figure out how to carry that over into our own writing.
TV shows all have one major plot, which is essentially what the show is about. However, it is the subplots and sub-themes that really carry a show along. These are essential pieces to any good TV show as well as good novels. Having subplots and sub-themes not only keep viewers or readers interested but it also allow more people to relate to the show or novel. TV shows can help any writer realize the importance of putting time and effort into these smaller details.
Character development is something that has to be solid in TV shows because if not, viewers will see right through it. Having characters that seem real and are relatable requires them to have goals, desires and to face obstacles. They also have to have a certain level of chemistry with other characters in order to keep the show interesting. Maintaining characters and each of their own personal stories can be complicated but it can help any TV show or any writing stand out.
The structure of TV shows can help writers get creative about how to tell their stories. TV shows have to be a bit more imaginative when it comes to how the show is laid out and being a writer/binge-watcher allows you to analyze the way TV show writers lay out their stories so you can transfer that to your writing.
Dialogue is an important part of any writing but it is especially important for TV shows. While you will not be setting up your dialogue the same way, you can utilize some of the techniques that TV show writers use to create realistic dialogue. In a TV show, the dialogue is main source of information for viewers so it has to essentially tell the whole story without seeming like it is telling it. If you pay close attention to the dialogue within a TV show and take some notes, the dialogue within your own writing will be strengthened.
TV shows also can give writers a pretty good idea how people want to be entertained. What is popular in TV and books are typically always the same. Remember the vampire phase? Or the Zombie phase that I think we are finally getting out of? Watching TV shows can give us some inspiration for general topics to include in our writing.
When you think about it, it makes sense that as writers, we would benefit from watching TV, I mean TV shows are just writing that is acted out and directed. So next time someone tries to judge you for binge watching, just tell them that you are doing research.
Editor’s Note: This post was written by Writestream Publishing contributor Kristyn Fetterman. Ready to make your publishing dream a reality? Contact us today.