Hi my name is Emily, and I’m one of those relatively unpublished authors that you were warned would be part of this blog. I don’t know why I felt the need to AA-style introduce myself, but deal with it… oh and keep reading. Even though I’ve been writing since I was in high school, I’m one of those people with a thousand beginnings, maybe two fleshed out ideas, and absolutely nothing polished.
I’m am (probably way too excited) to say that this month I had a flash fiction story posted on linguisticerosion.com and a short story published in romance magazine =) http://www.fictionmagazines.com/shop/romance-issues/romance-magazine-vol-02-06/
Okay, now that I’ve gotten my shameless self-promotion out of the way, I want to delve into my topic. Every time I’m binge watching a show on Netflix, I can’t help but think of how it parallels to a book unfolding. My brain wants to view each episode like a chapter. The easier this is for my brain to do this, the more I find a show satisfying.
This led my to think of each chapter I write as an episode (of my own fantasy show). Sometimes this concept is easy a la Game of Thrones season one. In fact, I constantly find myself wondering, just like with a novel, if TV show writers have an outline for their plots or if they are just making shit up as they go (sans GoT because I know they have like 10,000+ words of an outline). I mean, it felt that way with Lost. Nothing added up and some things were simply just forgotten as the seasons went on. And what was that ending?
I thought the biggest difference between novels and TV episodes was that while novels are constantly moving forward, TV episodes tend to have an overarching story with episodes that loop around. However, I think the same thing could be said for some novel series that I have read.
After binge watching Lost Girl yesterday, I decided to call these sub-plot-loop-a-rounds. Each episode branches off into a sub-plot that gets neatly wrapped up by the end of the episode; however, there is still that overarching story that pulls the show forward. The same could be said of a novel series, especially the kind that lead to 20 books.There is a main point driving the books forward, but each individual novel has a subplot that is explored and concluded.
The comparisons led me to wonder if this is just a natural progression of the way we expect stories (on TV and in novels) now? Personally, I’ve always preferred stand alone books, and satisfying season finales. I hate cliffhanger endings, I think they are exploiting. Maybe even a cop out of writing a complete story. I thought TV was the primary villain in this regard a la Grey’s Anatomy, but the same thing seems to happen with some books too. Matter of fact, I lose interest in shows and books after about (book) season 3. It almost always seems to be downhill from that point. It always seems like writers are reaching for ideas. I also hate that when there is no conclusion in sight. I’m also a little butt hurt still about the conclusion to Lost, but that’s a different post topic.
Speaking of Lost though, I’ve noticed a far amount of misleading clues in TV shows. Mostly Lost Girl since that’s what I’m onto now. Is this acceptable in novels? Is it acceptable to lead your reader astray in order to surprise them? I’ve been told that makes an unreliable character/ narrator, but if it’s accepted in TV, why not? Do you feel cheated when shows pan into something (like a dead body) foreshadowing-ly and then next episode you find out dude was just passed out in his zombie make-up?
And just like the Lost writers, I made it this far and forgot what my conclusion was…after all my complaining about satisfying endings, I’m feeling the pressure now. Granted from someone who has written The End on one (dreadful) novel, I guess I shouldn’t be pointing too many fingers.
So, I suppose, I’m asking. Do you see your novel as a TV show? Can you see your chapter unfold in your head as you write it? Do you end the chapter and wonder if people will tune in next week i.e. turn the next page? Oh, and how many subplots are just too freaking many?
I also have a infrequently updated tumblr : umyeahrightokay.tumblr.com
And my email is firstname.lastname@example.org. And as soon as I’m hip to all that other social media, I’ll update my contact info =)