The Power of Creative Infusion…Or “I Swear, I Really Do Need to Watch That Much Television”

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In honor of the holidays, the time when people all over are taking off work, today I’m blogging about something I bet you’ll all be doing during your break.

No, not that…you with your dirty minds. Smile

I’m talking about watching television!

I’ll admit, I used to be against television. It was 1/4 due to all the propaganda out there about television being bad for your brain, and 3/4 due to the way I saw people around me disappear into their television screen during football season. Hell, for all I know, maybe the tube is bad for your brain. But ever since I’ve taken up writing on a professional basis, I’ve realized that, at least for me, its pros outweigh its cons.

As a visual person, I find television to be invaluable in stimulating my creativity. I write paranormal, and there are a few “go-to” shows that inevitably get my mind racing when I’m feeling out of steam. Interesting enough, they are all CW shows. I love Supernatural because of the strong dynamic between the two “brothers” on the show. Oh, and the fact that they’re major pieces of eye candy doesn’t hurt one bit, let me tell you. Smallville is set in such a fantastic world of superheroes that there’s no way an episode won’t get my creative juices flowing. Buffy’s Spike is another yummy bit of inspiration. And more lately, I’ve gotten into watching Nikita. Not paranormal, but the lead character is a kick-ass chick steeped in such vulnerability that I can’t turn away. The love-hate relationship between her and her former mentor is pretty darn hot, too.

So whenever I’m feeling stuck plotwise or with a scene I’m writing, I generally turn to the television, and to one of my favorite shows.

How about you? Do you find that television and movies stimulate your creativity? Or maybe music does it for you instead? What do you do to refill that creative well?

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6 thoughts on “The Power of Creative Infusion…Or “I Swear, I Really Do Need to Watch That Much Television”

    kayspringsteen said:
    December 20, 2010 at 8:20 am

    My creativity is more sparked by music. However, I particularly pay attention to TV and movies for the moves in scenes, the facial expressions, and often while watching something, I will use it as an exercise in creative writing. For instance, in the movie Up Close and Personal, after the prison riot scene, Robert Redford and Michelle Pfeiffer are walking to each other slowly, with great purpose, and their embrace is one of comfort for them both, but the need of comfort comes from two different places based on them experiencing the riot from different places. I break downthe choreography in such scenes and consider how I could illustrate the raw emotion shown between the two characters through writing.

      Rosalie Lario responded:
      December 20, 2010 at 8:25 am

      Yes, Kay! I think visual mediums are invaluable for helping writers craft scenes filled with believable action and expressions by the character. I always pay particular attention to the way a character cocks his brow when saying something smart, or cocks his head. It’s those things that make characters come to life.

    Julia Rachel Barrett said:
    December 20, 2010 at 10:55 am

    Rosalie – oh hell yes! Never underestimate the value of economic storytelling on television! There is so much to be learned – the writers have to tell a complete story in less than 60 minutes, when you take commercials into consideration – or even in less than 30 minutes.
    Take NCIS, for example – since it’s my favorite serial. Not only must the plot make sense, not only are there good guys, bad guys and dead guys, you have the marvelous relationships and reparte between recurring characters. As far as I’m concerned, we can learn so many lessons about crisp writing from watching a show like NCIS, or, my other new favorite, The Walking Dead!

      Rosalie Lario responded:
      December 20, 2010 at 10:58 am

      You are so right, Julia! Telling a whole story in such a limited time frame is an art in and of itself, and there’s a lot to be learned by watching.

    Rachel Firasek said:
    December 23, 2010 at 10:55 am

    I find the real-life supernatutal shows help. I don’t catch them often, but my son gives me the update on the newest baddies and I check them out when I can. TV is okay in small doses, but normally, I’ll pick up a nonfiction book to find my stimulus! Thanks for getting me thinking!!!

      Rosalie Lario responded:
      December 23, 2010 at 6:28 pm

      You know, I always stop on those shows when I’m flipping channels, but I’ve never actually considered using them for inspiration. Funny, since it’s such a good idea!

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