The Curse Of TV

Werdna Elbee

16-12-2005 18:34:21

When you're all writing your stories, professional, amateur and all, how do you envision the events occurring in your head?

I'm just asking because I've sat through a lot of fan-fiction and often found the structure of the writing to be little more than a script wrote in the form of a novel. Or you can at least trace back that the writer was thinking of it as a TV episode or film. (I have really read a lot, I used to edit a newsletter)

Examples of this could be describing a mysterious man by mentioning visual things like his rank, race, and age, how he stays in the shadows, etc. While in a book you could tell the tale from his point of view while omitting who he is or some other clever way that I’m not smart enough to know.

When setting the scene I find odd bits of detail. Envisioning the scene as if you were storyboarding it would be "A hovercar flies overhead", which is too detailed with a director’s precision, but in a novel you'd may well mention that hovercars fly overhead but not that it ideally happens at that moment.

Worst of all is dialogue that is little more than the too-ing and fro-ing of a script with little detail in how people are feeling, how they put across what they are saying, etc.

I openly admit that this is how I see the events unfold in my head, but I do everything in my power to hide that fact. To be completely honest, I’m currently writing a major argument between two avatars of good and evil and it is heavily set in my head that it is in the wind and rain because it would ‘look’ cool. Would it in a book?

I hear the way to become a better writer is to read a lot of books. I’d imagine this is so you can learn how they structure the writing and use it yourself. Do those who read more than they watch see the events differently? But on the flipside, is it a good idea to use some of these movie visualisation techniques in a book to make it easier to read for people more versed with television?

btw, I'll not lie to ya, I posted this on another forum too, but I'd like to hear your opinions too :o)

Muz Ashen

20-12-2005 12:42:37

I have found that television absolutely ruins my writing.

It wrecks my attention to detail, and my ability to foreshadow with any subtlety....and it tends to make my work on the whole more shallow.

So, I try not to watch television, period. I'd mush rather create than consume, anyway. ;)

Werdna Elbee

20-12-2005 13:57:38

I'm a total consumer. Feed me

num num num


21-12-2005 21:25:48

I find that my dialogue is affected by TV. I dont really describe what the charactors are doing, just what they are saying.

But on the whole, I've watched WAY less TV since joining the DB.


03-01-2006 18:54:45

When I do watch TV -- somewhere around 8 hrs. a week, not a lot by modern standards -- it's mostly news and documentary programs. But the few fiction/dramas I watch from time to time are only of high quality: Sopranos, Deadwood, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Arrested Development, The Office, South Park, West Wing etc. I find watching those shows immensely helpful for screenwriting -- great dialogue and character development, but most importantly, good structure and pacing. That's the thing that can be very tricky to get right, but it's also the most accessible to learn from a few well-crafted examples. On a whole though, good movies and good books are what it's all about for me. TV drama is second tier product.


23-01-2006 18:13:39

TV doesnt really help or not help my writing when i do watch it is the News or the Mil channel or the History Channel
but i am doing alot less writing


23-01-2006 19:42:32

News and Documentary aren't real TV!


05-02-2006 00:19:52

I've read works by people trying to write like I'm reading a movie, and let me tell you that it just doesn't work that way. The key to good writing is to let your mind do the work, not the words. I find that I as a reader get more into something I can make more personal by imagining a lot of details that just aren't mentioned in writing. You lose that when you write like television or a movie. That's part of the beauty of seeing a movie adaptation of a book we love. Don't turn it around, since it's not supposed to be that way.

Anyway, I try to write like my readers are supposed to create a great deal of imagery on their own. This frees me from getting bogged down in unnecessary details.


03-04-2006 05:28:29

I think that visual stimulance can be a good insperation.
But so can a piece of music. Or even a good meal...!
What ever floats your boat, right...?

Having said that. Writing should not be as graphic as screenplay. But then again, Look at Tolkiens work.
He descibed everything in such detail, the movies barely did it justice..!

I'll read anything once. If read it twice, I like it. If I read it three times or more, I love it...!!!

Make me Love you..... ;)


02-05-2006 13:34:23

Floating boats are nothing...but making your car float...thats another thing...


02-05-2006 15:59:18

It also depends on what you're writing. If you're writing something that is based on dialogue, you may want to watch some TV to get a good feel of how the characters may act or respond. But, when I'm writing a fictional story or poem, I personally believe that when the TV's on, I focus my attention on that and usually forget about what I'm writing. :D

Sakh nhem

06-05-2006 10:35:02

I find that music helps me a lot when I'm writing.


06-05-2006 11:33:12

yes, that is so true...
music is a great source of inspirtion... (did I spell that right?) :ermm:


26-04-2007 23:44:30

I write fan-fic based on characters on TV series. Watching the series helps me write about the characters and although I try to develop them, I can stay loyal to the original characters.


04-07-2007 13:55:13

Who let the trekie in here?! :P


Even though it is a piece of writing you still need to set the scene, and mention things like fliers skimming about above, people walking about or not, as even though you may not specifically state how quiet or loud their voices are the reader may get the feeling that they would say something quietly in case someone over-hears. Like someone said above Tolkien went into a huge amount of detail in his books, but on the flip side of that the more you leave open and don't join the dots then the more the reader will have to fill in the gaps. That will then mean that the reader will empathise with the work as they have more to do. Of course there is a balance cos people with little or no imagination will end up pictuing two stationary stick people talking...

Myself, I don't like writing heavily conversant pieces of literature, cos it's just like writing a script. TV and movies rely hugely on dialogue so as a basis of writing dialogue then it's good (specifically the early QT movies). However scripts don't make good reading, and it's probably best not to have it dialogue heavy. Though if they never speak what the hell are they doing. And amke sure to leave gaps for the readers' imaginations to fill in. But not too many...



04-07-2007 23:51:46

I'll just pop in a say that when I am writing something (or when I'm on the computer at all) I always have iTunes playing