Not sure what to write this week? Try tuning in to these five TV-themed post ideas.
Whether I’m channel surfing or binging on Netflix, one of my favorite distractions is TV. Because of the short-form nature of TV shows, writers are able to pack a whole lot of drama into a condensed timeframe — making us all the more susceptible to the “just one more episode” dilemma.
If you find yourself distracted or stuck on what to write this week, try finding some inspiration in everyone’s favorite diversion.
1. To be continued
I would venture to guess that football games and two-part episodes garner the most vocal reactions in TV watchers. When it comes to entertainment, there’s little as tormenting as those three little words, “To be continued…”
While we may live in the age of instant gratification and Netflix binging, there’s still a lot to be said for building up to a truly fantastic cliffhanger. Why not write one of your most suspenseful stories — fiction or true life — in two parts (or more!). You can complete both halves all at once, but schedule the second one while you keep your readers hanging on what happens next.
2. All of time and space
Pretty much any one who knows me knows I’m a huge Doctor Who fan. It’s hard to condense the plot into a single sentence without it sounding absolutely ridiculous, but the long story short is that it’s a long-running BBC show about a time traveling alien who often saves the world.
Regardless of my ability to summarize, I often imagine how interesting it must be to be a writer for Doctor Who. There is literally no limit on the time and place of each episode — the characters are able to travel anywhere in space and time. The possibilities are endless: realistic or un-realistic, based in fact or entirely fictional.
In a blog post this week, explore the limits of time and space. Send your characters to a fantasy world or drop them off 2000 years in the future, or the past. Alternatively, turn the theme inwards and share where in the universe, and when, you would like to visit and why.
Every now and then, a character pops into a TV show who’s so charismatic, so unique that you want to know more about them. If you’re lucky, the fancy executives over at the TV station approve a spin-off where you get to follow this wonderful, fictional person.
Of course, there are many failed spin-offs, but the draw is the same amongst all of them: a single character was bigger than their secondary role on the show. Sometimes the personalities and characters writers create are larger than life in their current setting, and a spin-off can allow them to grow beyond that, developing into a full-fledged and complex storyline.
In our blog posts, we often mention people in passing. For travel bloggers, it may be the nice woman who walked you to the bus station when you were lost. For food bloggers, perhaps it was the cook you met who suggested a recipe that changed your life. Regardless of what you blog about, think of one of those secondary characters in your life and give them a voice.
4. Keep it campy
I’ve always loved watching classic TV shows from the 1950s and 60s. From The Monkees to The Brady Bunch, Leave It to Beaver to I Dream of Jeanie, I was transfixed by the campy dialogue, larger than life hairstyles, and the way everything was tied up in a neat little bow at the end of each episode.
A clean resolution on TV is so satisfying precisely because it’s not something we can force in real life. We live in the gray area, whereas television has all the benefits of being written in black and white. Tell us about the difference between that perfect, simple resolution and the chaos that is often daily life. What day-to-day challenges have you dealt with recently and how did you handle them? What did you learn?
5. Basking in the glow
The role of TV in a household is often a contentious discussion. Speaking personally, I’ve gone through self-righteous phases of not owning a TV to watching reality TV marathons for an entire Sunday. Growing up, TV was omnipresent in my house. My mother loved keeping the television on — not for the shows, but for the noise. Yet when I first moved out, I was adamant about keeping television out of my newly found space
It’s not surprising that TV garners so many strong opinions: at its core, it’s a massive device for spreading culture and connecting on a national level. Put on your cultural theorist hat and explore the meaning of television in our world today. What was the role of television in your childhood and how has that changed? Do you think it’s still as relevant in an age of Netflix and Hulu — or, more significantly, in an age of social media? How do you consume popular culture?
As you try your hand at these posts, we’re looking forward to tuning in to what you write!