Tuesday, February 11, 2014

All Things Writing and Love is In The Air ~ I Could Fall In Love With You

Since this is still The Beginning of The Week, and I want to dedicate something each week to All Things Writing, this post is going to blend some writing questions with my Love Is In The Air business.

As a writer, I have learned so much reading your blogs, reading books, and even watching TV shows and movies.

I think it was Dianne K. Salerni at In High Spirits who wrote a post a while back about how she was struggling with the current novel in her series. She made a choice back in the first book that wasn't making the writing easy later on. However, that choice was already out there (and in print), so she couldn't go back and change it. The only thing to do was figure out how to go on from here.

TV shows, more than movies, face this same dilemma. Any show that has story that carries over from week to week (a serial) is up against this same wall. One of the surest ways to send a TV show to the cancellation block is to ignore the history in favor of telling the story you want to tell. Novelists run this same risk because the result is the same. With a TV show, viewers become disgusted and Change The Channel. With novels, word of mouth circulates that it is full of plot holes, not true to the story, etc. and people Don't Buy.

How do we avoid this with our own writing? I remember one person suggesting (Misha Gerrick, maybe?) that anyone writing a serial reread everything you've already written so that those old choices are fresh in your mind. It is one way to avoid revisionist history. It also reminds you of who your characters are given their choices/beliefs/value system.

You may be thinking... I am not a series writer, so this doesn't apply to me. I remember Alex J. Cavanaugh saying that he never intended his first book to become a series, but that is what happened. So, I am thinking it is best to Never Say Never. You can draw your own conclusions;)

You may be thinking... I am not a writer (period), so this doesn't apply to me. True, but you probably read, watch TV shows and/or movies. Can you think of a specific book series, TV series, or even a movie that didn't remain true to choices made earlier? Did it recover later or die a painful death? Tell me about it. I do want to know!

I am tagging all of these Love Is In The Air (even though the hop is over) and the following is a list of all the posts with links, so that you can watch any of your favorites that you missed.

Back at the beginning of this thing I asked YOU to share what you think are the most romantic moments on the big and small screen. Thank you to everyone who has commented with your favorite romantic scenes. I have enjoyed watching them on YouTube. I no longer have time to post them in this series, but I *might* include them on the HERE'S TO YOU post;)

Speaking of comments, some of your comments crack me up! Once I ran all movies and several of you indicated you'd never seen those TV shows. Hahahaha. I realize I must be more clear about what I am posting, since I am doing both.


The clips from today are from the TV Show Private Practice. Shonda Rimes, writer of Grey's Anatomy, decided to spin off one of the main characters from that show. Addison Montgomery moved to LA and a new medical drama was born. And died. In order to have the same sort of bizarre cases that you get on Grey's (which takes place at a major metropolitan hospital) you actually need a major metropolitan hospital. A private practice just doesn't cut it. So, everyone's medical qualifications became a hindrance after the first year (with the exception of our main character who actually was a surgeon).  What did Shonda do to solve this MAJOR problem? She reinvented them all. It was insane. It was stupid. It plunged the show into a downward spiral that ended in a painful death. In the meantime, the show was (mostly) successful at interpersonal relationships and quirky characters.... where Shonda excels as a writer. In other words, it still made good romance. If you want a lesson on how not to write a series, watch Private Practice. So many lessons there.

Now. let's pluck the gems from the ash, shall we?

Addison and Jake. Let me just say that if a man ever said this to me, I am fairly certain my knees would give out and I would be this puddle on the floor. Oh boy.

Roll the Jake footage...

"You know why I asked how you felt about me? Because I could fall in love with you, Addison. I could buy a house with you, I could make a baby with you, in a test tube, or however, But, I could be with you.But, when I go in, I go all in. And I can't do that while you're pining after another man. You're NOT READY for what I have to offer." 

"I could get ready." 

"That would be nice."

One of the funniest things about Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice was the usage of elevators for the BEST conversations. I have never in my life experienced sexy elevator talk. **Damn damn damn.**

Moving on to the most consistently excellent couple on this show... Cooper and Charlotte. While everything else collapsed around them, they were the characters that always remained TRUE TO THE STORY. This scene dates back to when they are just starting out as a couple. Charlotte is a love-battered weary soul who excels at self-sabotage. Cooper knows this about her. He calls her on her stuff and expects her to do better (she does).

Roll the Cooper/Charlotte footage:

What could have been the best relationship, Amelia and James, didn't save the ship. It had already broadsided the iceberg and was going down. The best they could do was make the sinking a bit more enjoyable.  The James character didn't even join the cast until the last season, and they were cancelled mid-way through, so this couple never got the screen time fans would have liked. They were fun, funny, and real in some ways that others weren't. Their problems weren't big soap opera problems. They looked a lot more like what average people face (for the most part). Take this scene... It cracks me up every time.

Roll the James and Amelia footage:

"I'm pretty sure it's not the first time. Just think back to the best sex you've ever had."


Have a good Tuesday everyone!


  1. Good writing advise. I can't help but think of TV shows I wish had taken this advice (rewatched earlier seasons) so as to not retread ground or become repetitive or have characters just acting like idiots.
    *AHEM walking dead AHEM*
    I'll soon be approaching the second book in my first series... Hoping I can bypass the mistakes that some make.

  2. Rebounds never work...which I am assuming what is happening in the Benjamin Bratt clip. If Benjamin Bratt ever said hi to me, I'd melt in a puddle...and have to say ten times, 'There's no place like home.' :)

  3. I burst into a chuckle when Jake very matter-of-factly says - as the elevator door opens - "That would be nice." Great scene!

    Be well, Robin.

  4. Thanks for the shout-out!
    I think I've overcome the problem I was writing about, but I'm still facing another one -- the triangle of a) a character's personality b) a character's actions and c) the character's motivation. Ugh.

    To be honest, I think the character's personality and actions go together quite nicely. She's a prickly thing, and obstinate, and hard to get along with.

    But one of my crit partners keeps bugging me to examine her motivations, and every time I do, either I can't match them to the actions she must take -- or if I do that, then she no longer fits in character.

    Don't know if I'll solve this in another draft, or if I need to stick my fingers in my ears when my crit partner asks "What is her goal?" and stick to her personality driven self-destruction. What do you think?

    1. Maybe you are going at it this from the wrong angle. If her personality and actions do go together, then the motivation IS there. So, I would dig around in that garden. Given her personality and the action she takes... what is her motivation? If you are looking at this strictly from her motivation, what is it? And is it possible that the motivation is STILL right given her actions and personality... she just doesn't correctly anticipate how her actions will turn out? We all have done that before... Maybe that is why her motivation doesn't make sense (on paper) when you look at her actions. But does it make sense to her???

    2. Robin, I think you are right. My character (Evangeline's younger sister, small spoiler) is very reactive. She acts before she thinks things through most of the time. And you are absolutely right that she might choose strange ways to achieve her goals. It is also true that she doesn't correctly anticipate how her actions will turn out. Thanks, this helps!

  5. I hate when television shows or novel series have big contradictions toward the end. I know it takes a lot of work to keep everything straight, even in your own story, but you owe it to the fans and the craft. I've seriously considered constructing diagrams on entire walls like police do with complicated cases.

  6. I always reread the previous books in a series I'm writing and I keep a lot of notes. I have regretted doing something in an early book I can't change.

  7. Great scene with Jake and Addison! So true how many of the best scenes on TV take place in elevators! I thought for a long time that Charlotte wasn't good enough for Cooper, but I finally warmed up to her after a few seasons.


  8. I think the soap writers are really guilty of carrying on a dilemma for too long to the point the plot has gotten too old. :/
    You said in your post, "You may be thinking... I am not a writer (period), so this doesn't apply to me. True, but you probably"
    You are a writer. My hubby has reminded me often, "Don't ever give up on your dreams" So I am telling you, Don't you ever give up on a dream you have!

    The clip reminded me of a scene in a book, "What is it about elevators?" :)

  9. David ~ I don't watch The Walking Dead, but the longer a series goes on the more I think the writers would benefit from watching the first seasons again. If writers reread their novels... well, it makes sense to me.

    rosey ~ Rebounds are very tricky. But, I wouldn't say never. Just not ideal. Of course, on a TV show they happen a lot. Sometimes they work. Sometimes not. Jake and Addison did actually get married at the end of this one. So, this one worked... when she said she could get ready... turns out she meant that!

    Robyn ~ I know. Great scene. Hard to believe it lasted all of one minute. It felt longer. ::sigh::

    Steven ~ I am assuming you are talking about these boards for your novels and not TV shows... hahahaha. That is actually a great idea if you can find a place to put it. For now, I am just using a spiral notebook...

    Susan ~ I think that is the thing I worry about most when I publish a series. Once it is in print, you CANNOT change it.

    Julie ~ Charlotte was a prickly character and a bit hard to love. It is ironic that she and Cooper ended up anchoring the show before it was all over.

    GG ~ Yes, it is either that or they move at the speed of light (nighttime, not daytime) and you feel like you are on a merry-go-round.
    The writer comment was for my non-writers friends who read this blog and are likely skip it in when they read Writer Notes. I really wanted to make the point that anyone could comment or participate in this dialogue. You don't have to be a writer to have something to say on this one. But, thanks! My book is coming along nicely. I am nearing the end of Chapter 19. Woohoo!


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