Wednesday, September 15, 2010


First, some announcements for anyone who's interested in my writing life:
I finished the first draft of the sister story.
I'm now working on revising the spy book (known, for now, as SPY CHICK). It's kind of killing me.

Watch out, world, I'm about to say something mind-blowing.

STAR TREK: TOS HELPED ME FIGURE OUT THE END OF MY NOVEL. Not the one I just finished, or even the one before that, but the last novel I queried. A contemporary YA about three cousins and a boy next door, a novel where the ending just didn't quite fit. It was one of those stories where the ending seemed perfect, but it just wasn't. It just didn't work, for whatever reason, and I could never figure it out.

And then, in the midst of Trek-obsession, it dawned on me, seeming so incredibly obvious, the way things always do when you finally figure them out.

But that's only the beginning. The fact is that, from cheesy reality shows (which, honest, I rarely watch) to earth-shattering dramas, television inspires me. I have story ideas inspired by How I Met Your Mother, Star Trek: TOS, Lost, Food Network: Cake Challenge, Psych, and, most interesting of all, The Bachelor. (I swear I only watched one season of it.) And, though SPY CHICK wasn't exactly inspired by Get Smart, I'd be lying if I said the show isn't an influence.

I just love television. My top three fictional characters aren't from books; they're from shows that I love. The stories I obsess over (and, trust me, I do a lot of obsessing) are mostly ones that have played out on the television screen.

There's just something about TV that fascinates me.

I like that characters grow. That relationships grow. That stories that would have seemed impossible and insane in the first season are the natural course of things by the fourth. I like the fact that season finales surprise us, that pilot episodes open us up to a world of possibilities, that sometimes it's predictable and sometimes it isn't and sometimes shows jump the shark. I like that shows, some of them at least, are able to inspire such rabid fandom and obsession in people, such a connection to characters and storylines.

And I think there's a lot to be learned from television, at least from the perspective of a writer. How to set up a relationship, a group, introduce a storyline. How to begin. How to end. How to write dialogue. Watch Friends to learn about group dynamics. Gilmore Girls or Parenthood to write a family dinner. The third season of The Office for a great love triangle. Sometimes the way television is written doesn't - can't - translate to novels. But sometimes, maybe more often than we think, it can.

Does television inspire you? Are you also a TV fangirl? What shows are you looking forward to this fall?