Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Sunday Night Television

The only night I watch television is Sunday night.  Tori has been talking about the new season and I have to admit I am lost.  But not on Sunday night.  

First, there is Rome on HBO.  I love this show.  I’ve always had an interest in ancient Rome, add some salacious soap opera-ish details and I’m hooked.

Next is Desperate Housewives.  When this show came on last year, I turned it on because there was nothing else on.  Boy, I was devoted after the first episode.  A total guilty pleasure.

Finally, Curb Your Enthusiasm.  I don’t know too many people who enjoy this show.  Larry David is so obnoxious.  And I love it because he is.

What do these shows have in common?  They are primarily character driven.  Their success counts on the characters and the conflicts they find themselves in.  The fate of the Roman Empire rests on the machinations of its characters.  Wisteria Lane’s world revolves around the conflicts the women place themselves in, twisting their lives and those around them by how they interact.  Larry David acts out on his impulses without caring what anyone thinks of him, making the audience cringe and laugh at the same time.

I love conflict as entertainment.  I’m not much interested in crime drama, story-driven shows don’t hold my attention as much.  And I think the same goes for my reading choices.  I tend to be interested in stories with solid character conflicts, which is probably why I like reading romance.  The crux of a romance is the two characters, their conflicts and how they resolve them.  Oddly enough, it is the weakness in my writing.  I can come up with great plots and subplots, but they tend to overshadow my characters.

So with that in mind, my latest WIP is more focused on the characters and the plot is Spartan as is the subplot, enough to move the characters along and to put them in situations which will bring them together and split them apart.    It is a slower pace for me.  I’m more apt to write big, violent scenes full of action.  Now I am trying to shift that energy into my characters,  using emotional conflict in the place of heavy action.   It is much tougher to write and I think it is why I am dragging my feet.  Whereas action and violence is easy, emotion and character takes some effort and I’ve been lazy.  

I’m hoping the new season of my favorite shows inspire me to get my folks in uncomfortable situations.  Does television influence your writing in any way?  Do you see a similarity in your writing to the things you watch on television?