Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Why Watch the Repeats

The summer schedule has finally arrived. For the most part, the television networks are airing repeats of their shows. Usually it’s a good time to rent that DVD or pull out a book (novel idea) and read in the evenings.  A couple of nights ago I watched a repeat show—the first episode of Grey’s Anatomy. After watching the show, I considered what drew me to watch the repeat.

I’ve been fascinated with the characters, their dialogue and interaction and plot. If you boil it down to a key ingredient, it’s the writing which is crisp and fast-paced. Also the characters grow and learn from their experiences—plus they are flawed and imperfect. When I’ve seen some actors from hit television showed interviewed (particularly the cast of Friends), they were asked what makes their show such a success.  Their top of the head first answer was to say something like, “We have great writers.”

As a writer and editor, I wonder what you are doing to improve your craft. Here’s some ideas:

  • Read some excellent fiction. Always a good idea and something that too few writers seem to do. But when I talk with some of the top fiction authors, they are always reading something.
  • Read some how-to-write books. I particularly like the work that Penelope Stokes built into her book, The Complete Guide to Writing & Selling the Christian Novel. It’s an excellent book on craft and many novelists and would-be novelists can learn a great deal from this seasoned editor and novelist.
  • Devote some time to learning about the publishing business. In other entries, I’ve mentioned this audio resource, Become A Bestselling Author. If you are making a driving trip across country. It might be one of your wisest investments in your career—the education you will receive from these audios.
  • Return often to this page and read the various articles. I regularly add new ones where you can learn about the craft of writing a novel. Note it is going through some reorganization and expansion to help you get around on this valuable resource.

I believe I understand a bit better why my wife will watch the sit-coms over and over.  The writing is key.

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