Day 30: Watch TV Like a Writer

(Day 30) Watch TV Like a Writer

I fully admit that today’s advice is probably not something you’ve heard before.

I mean, even Stephen King said: If you’re just starting out as a writer, you could do worse than strip your television’s electric plug-wire, wrap a spike around it, and then stick it back into the wall. See what blows, and how far. Just an idea.

But, I want you to watch TV today.

I want you to watch TV like a writer.

Stay with me here. Television can be a time suck. It can steal your writing time. BUT, it can also be some of the best writing there is right now. (And, Mr. King is pretty hard on a medium that’s told some of his stories very well. Dead Zone, anyone?)

Television is one of the most time-efficient ways to take in a full story arch. And writers need to be story consumers, right? They just do.

I know I promised you that none of the assignments in this series would take very long. This is the only exception.

I want you to pick an episode of any show and watch it through the lens of a writer. Here are some questions to think about:

  • Why did you pick this episode?
  • What works about it for you?
  • What doesn’t work?
  • What did the writers do to make you want to watch the next episode?
  • How were the characters developed during this episode?
  • Did the characters interact with the setting?
  • What part of the story was resolved within this episode?
  • How was the larger story arch moved forward?
  • Can you tell where the three acts are in this episode?


Choose an episode of television and watch it like a writer. Come on over to our Facebook group and share what you learned!

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