October 1, 2012

Monday Pep Rally: YA on TV

Monday Pep Rally is a weekly feature where the Misfits post a question for you, the reader, to answer. You can answer on your own blog and link in the comments, or just answer here!

You guys. I want to discuss a very important topic today. This thing makes my days better, and I'm sure I'm a better writer because of it. What is this amazing thing, you ask?

TV, of course! Duh.

I know, I know. We're writers. Doesn't that mean TV is beneath us or something? Um, no. NO! And not just because of Ian Somerhalder's abs. Because of his eyes too. Wait what? What was I talking about? Right. There are a lot of TV shows I love for how they help me think about my writing. Great books aren't the only things that can make us better writers! Sometimes taking note of what works really well in writing for screen can make a huge difference, too.

Take The Vampire Diaries, for instance. (Anyone who knows me knew I was going here immediately, am I right?) This show, you guys. This is maybe the best YA show on TV. There are SO many reasons to watch this show...

SO MUCH PRETTY! Official Promo Pic from cwtv.com

...but for writers, one of the best is the pacing. You know on how some shows we have a mystery and the characters mess around for like, six episodes until finally someone gets smart? Not TVD. SO MUCH HAPPENS on this show, you guys. A plotline you think might take half the season gets resolved beautifully in two episodes, then we move on. It's not rushed, but it's quick. It fills every minute of every episode with real content rather than filler. I wish more books did this!

Official Promo Pic from abc.go.com

And then there's Revenge, which I've only recently started watching (thanks, Dahlia!) and which has some great writing tips woven into it, too (even if it's not exactly YA). In this show, I particularly love the tight plotting. The main character is smart and ruthless and always three steps ahead, and if the writers weren't so on top of things, it could get unwieldy fast. But you can tell they've thought of everything. This show is definitely a case where plotting wins over pantsing!

So, I could go on and on about awesome TV, but I'd rather hear from you.

What TV shows do you love? Have any of them influenced your writing? 

(If you want to check them out, Season 4 of TVD starts October 11 on the CW, and Season 2 of Revenge started last night on ABC!)


Caitlin R. O'Connell said...

Well, the only shows I watch diligently are all British (Doctor Who, Sherlock, Downton Abbey) or cancelled (Firefly). But they do have an effect on my writing - in my new wip, I want one of my characters to be a bit like the Dowager Countess from Downton, and I want it to be a strong ensemble cast like Firefly.

Seabrooke said...

I totally agree about the value of TV as inspiration and influence. Also certain video games, and movies. It's about the story, not the medium it's told through. Definitely some of my favourites have provided food for thought for my own writing, when something really works for me, or really doesn't, and I pause to contemplate why.

Maggie Hall said...

Caitlin--ooh, I love the Dowager Countess! That sounds like a great character you're writing. :)

Seabrooke--I completely agree. Just as certain things in books can work really well, so can things in TV, movies, games...it's so helpful figuring out why and how you can use that in your own writing.

volatilesublime said...

I emphatically agree with your opinions on TVD and Revenge. They've made me really re-examine the ideas of plots within plots; it also doesn't hurt that my current WIP and TVD both have bunches of vampires in them. Others I really appreciate for plotting and characterization ideas: Supernatural, Alphas, Downton Abbey, and Misfits from the UK (though I have to add that the last one is probably really not a YA series. There is a LOT of sex and blood in it).

Rachel said...

Like Caitlin, I watch all shows.....that aren't quite on TV. Mostly bc I don't have cable. I just got into Grey's Anatomy (season 1), Buffy (season 4), Sherlock (season 1), and Pretty Little Liars (season 1). I've found that ESPECIALLY PLL has been influencial for my story. I'm writing about a girl who spins out of control while falling in love with a psychopath and Allie (A) on PRETTY LITTLE LIARS has someone I've been watching out for. Too bad she's dead and not really a part of the show..lol!!!!

Dahlia Adler said...

I'm a little late, obviously, but I'm making up for it by posting my very first MPR blog post!


callmebecks said...

Heh - I'm catching up on blogs for this week and just realized that we wrote about the awesome pacing of Vampire Diaries just two days apart. Great minds!

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