true blood

True Blood

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.

4 thoughts on “true blood

  1. A very timely post. As you know, I’m in the middle of publishing a book, and this is the central theme. I’m certain TV/film affects our writing and more than that: it affects how we communicate with one another. The scathing comment meant to be humorous only to the audience is one example. In real life, we don’t get the laugh from the audience as the offended person looks on dumbly waiting for the laughter to stop.

  2. Interesting. For a long time I never watched any TV, but now have gotten on the binge watch/streaming/whole season on DVD thing. I do have a few shows that stimulate creative juices: FRINGE is the main one, it gives me a desperate desire to create something with the same intensity of tone and desire to “be in that world” the show creates in me. OTOH there is simple trashy addictive television, yes, as you say. I watched all 8 seasons of HOUSE in about 3 weeks in May-June, ugh!

    (NB the Charlaine Harris books are very appealing – great narrative voice. Thanks for Cruz Smith rec, hadn’t heard anything about it but it sounds great.)

  3. a lot

    I love things like The Wire and Friday Night Lights where the place is part of the story, where that connection is deep. That’s important to me in what I read and write as well, so I like to visualize it on the screen.

    Thanks for the Martin Cruz Smith rec. I’ve only read Gorky Park and Stallian Gate by him: really good and so so, respectively.

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