August 31, 2012 by Marcus Speh
We’ve been watching the TV series “True Blood”. It’s been hard on our rational minds to be honest. Even though I’ve got a soft spot for the whole vampire lore, the script of the soap requires the characters to do extremely unreasonable things all the time. While I recognize that there would be no soap if protagonists and antagonists behaved like normal people rather than cardboard heroes and heroines, it’s annoying and destroys the suspension of disbelief in the story. Even for fantasy this is the core of a good entertainment experience. If you’d be here, you’d hear me huff and puff and mutter along all the time…
I had a dream one of these nights: went to a house there was a party and suddenly my plaster, the plaster covering the small wound on my neck on the left side of my neck comes off. It reveals not a small one but a large scrape with blood oozing from it. But the people in that house don’t have any hydrogen peroxide or alcohol or iodine solution to disinfect the wound. What they do have is a theory that these things are not needed. And because I believe them I’m suddenly insecure: are we (my family) more susceptible to illness and wounds than others?
I wake up, I get up, I go to the bathroom, wash my hands and my face and get back to bed when I lie dozing more than sleeping for hours until the orange light on the alarm clock begins to blink.
I wonder if and how watching soaps on TV affects my writing. I don’t watch any TV apart from an occasional show, but True Blood feels like an addiction. Except it’s not a substance addiction, it’s an addiction to a rather trite but exciting story, a visual page turner. I wonder if watching this stops me from writing. Must take breaks.
One problem with movie characters is that they are very set in their ways, much more so than any character in the novel or story. At the same time, if the movie plot moves along energetically and nicely, movies might teach the writer how to turn characters on the page into acting bodies. I’m also reading Martin Cruz Smith’s novel “Rose”, one of the best books and stories I’ve read lately (or possibly ever). An almost perfect thriller of high literary quality. The characters of this novel, which is equally plot driven, live inside me in a different way from True Blood’s: every time I think of one of the characters from the book and of their actions, I feel inspired either to create another character, or I feel new fire being lit under one of the characters that I already carry in my head. Nothing like that with the TV soap: here, I am just waiting for the next fix. It still gives life energy, but it also absorbs life energy, and the resulting balance feels negative.
What’s the impact of films and TV on your writing?
Image: paper, flowers and plants, iPad, ‘brushes’ app, a balcony, imagination, Flickr.