Monday, April 6, 2009

Mis-Laid Plans

I had big plans for this weekend: write, mow, read.

What actually happened: slept on the couch, watched TV in between naps, took medication.

Oh, yeah. I did write a little -- a long journal entry, and portions of scenes for Thieves Honor, Episode 8 ("Endgame"), which will hopefully end the small story arc of "The Game", and be a little longer than previous episodes.

And the only reading I did was of the Biblical variety, on Sunday morning, in lieu of church.

It's now officially Monday morning, I've just taken another dose of medication, and I'm wishing work wasn't on the schedule in a few hours.

I've become a huge fan of, with its vast selection of free TV shows. I set the computer on a couch-side table, navigated over to, and episodically watched shows. (Yes, episodically. In between long "station breaks" when I slept.)

I own a few TV shows on DVD, and frequently rent them, too, in order to study the story arcs and the episode structures. Several years ago, at a writing conference, someone suggested watching soap operas for certain story elements, but that ain't my thing; other television shows work just fine, and I like 'em, so I actually pay attention. They're like homework, only cooler.

Being such a rookie to writing serial fiction, I feel like I have to re-learn how to write with every episode: If this were television, which scene would open the show? How long should a dialogue scene extend before the viewer (ahem, reader) gets bored? Action scenes can get boring, too, so how long should this or that one be, and what do I show? How much explanation is necessary in order to keep the audience informed, and how much should I let them infer from actions and dialogue?

See. It's an ongoing education.

Well, this post has rambled on, and I'm feeling a little loopy. Must be the medication. Yeah. Let's blame it on that.


The Texican said...

Do you have a proof indicator on the label of your medication? Pappy

Keanan Brand said...

Tex - It isn't liquid, so no alcohol in the mix. Just too many pain pills in an attempt to kill another migraine.Usually rest will do the trick; not this go-round.

Alexander Field said...

I tend to be the same way...watching good TV or film, or reading good books for that matter, can be like an education, and I treat most of my consumption that way. Somedays, writing needs to be put aside in favor of rest! : )

Keanan Brand said...

Sometimes, I find it difficult to just read / view and enjoy, and am always looking for the technique, the trick, the whatever that makes a story work. I'm the kid at the magic show who's always watching the magician's hands.The problem with that is the loss of wonder.

On the other hand, maybe, if I pay enough attention, I can instill a sense of wonder in my readers.

Eaglewing said...

I usually get too into the story of the TV show/movie to analyze it at the time, but a second view or thinking about it later is when I realize how well the structure worked (or didn't) and try to learn from it. Sure beats the homework I had in school :) Hope you're feeling better.

Keanan Brand said...

Thanks, Eagle.

There are some movies and shows that hold up with repeated viewing, and it's that kind of storytelling I wish I could incorporate into my own work.