I think that the short answer is yes. How many of have heard that too much TV will rot your brain? I suppose it will, depending on what you watch. Your mind is a lot like your body, if you put junk into it, junk comes out. You need to feed your mind, just as you need to feed your body. Sure, you can survive on junk food, but you won’t be healthy.
I binge on TV. We’ll find a show that looks good, give an episode or two a try, and then binge watch the rest if we enjoyed them. Not all at once, but we’ll devour that season or series pretty quickly. In our house, we usually watch shows that contain intellectual, historical, or educational value. These shows generally promote healthy debate and conversation after the fact as well. We’ll spend time discussing an unexpected twist, or researching the history behind a certain event or character. We’ll talk about feasibility, technicality, and accuracy in almost any show that we watch. It sounds boring, doesn’t it? But the shows that we watch are actually quite interesting and dramatic for the most part, and I love a good discussion.
Some of our favourites include: The Borgias, The Tudors, Deadwood, Rome, Vikings, and Lost. Of course, we like some normal shows too, but for the most part, we aren’t into junk TV. If you haven’t figured it out already, we really like Micheal Hirst. (Just a note: those shows all contain violence, sexuality, and so on. Don’t take it as a recommendation if that’s not your thing).
The shows mentioned above help me to think about the way that I write. They help to show me clever dialogue, fictional settings, character relationships, historical accuracy, and imagination. They help me to visualize plots and people and places. I look at good shows and think “how would one write that?”. How would you describe something in writing that took up half a second on screen? Of course, it would take longer, but looking at how good writing shapes TV shows can help you to cut back on your detail and your descriptions. It can help you to determine what is important and what is not.
For example, say you are weaving a cliffhanger through the story that will leave the reader at the end of the book with that “WHAT JUST HAPPENED?!” face. It’s hard to decide how much the reader will need throughout the story to actually understand the ending. If you don’t give enough, they’ll just be left feeling really, really confused. Too much and they will be saying “Duh”. In TV shows that have this, you can actually see it happen, allowing you to gauge how much you need to write in hints, how small they should be, and how often.
Look at GoT, for once we have a brilliant show based on brilliant books. Amazing, eh? If you have read the books, think about how similar, and at the same time, how different the book and show are from each other. Both have gleaned a crazy amount of success, and both are appreciated in their own right. But both of them are based on the same thing. Sometimes, I like aspects of the show better, other times I am much more enthralled with the books. The TV series shows me how things could have been done differently, and how some things could even have been left out or changed.
What do you think? TV or no TV? Are you like me in that you see writing everywhere? Any good books that were turned into good shows or movies?