1. marcusl
    Offline

    marcusl Member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2009
    Messages:
    98
    Likes Received:
    0

    Why is TV no good?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by marcusl, Oct 28, 2009.

    Almost all writers I've listened to say to turn off the TV. I wonder why that is? If you watch TV series with good stories, surely they'll give you inspiration? It's the same thing with video games. RPGs could teach you a bit about storytelling. Movies too, of course. As long as you place writing as your priority, shouldn't it be okay to engage in these other hobbies? They have the potential to motivate.

    What do you guys think? Thanks.
     
  2. arron89
    Offline

    arron89 Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2008
    Messages:
    2,460
    Likes Received:
    91
    Location:
    Auckland
    You shouldn't learn writing habits from TV shows. It would be like learning to paint by looking at sculpture. In some (very general) respects they are similar, but the ways the media work are very different, and fully realising the capacities of either requires thought and study and experimentation within that particular medium, rather than trying to emulate the ways other media work. As you probably know, coming up with stories/characters/anything you could learn from TV is the easy part; its the actual writing that requires effort and talent, and you can't learn good writing skills from a medium that isn't based on writing.
     
  3. InkDream
    Offline

    InkDream Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Messages:
    197
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    the Evergreen State
    T.V. is a source of entertainment and that's all it should be.
     
  4. arron89
    Offline

    arron89 Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2008
    Messages:
    2,460
    Likes Received:
    91
    Location:
    Auckland
    I'm not sure I'd go quite that far...like all forms of art, there are a broad spectrum of concerns that can be brought into play. You can write to entertain, or to stimulate, or to evoke emotion, and the same is true of TV. It isn't that its any less valid as a medium, only that it should be regarded as quite separate to any other form.
     
  5. Nobeler Than Lettuce
    Offline

    Nobeler Than Lettuce Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2008
    Messages:
    552
    Likes Received:
    14
    Location:
    Anytown USA
    Last time I checked, everything on TV was based on a script. But I agree with most of what you're saying.

    TV can be, at best, a cheap way to drop some writers block. Maybe a show gives you an idea for a story, say. But at worst, it's a creativity hog. You'll start to see similar instances of your style being portrayed on TV, and that'll change your mind about what exactly you should be writing. Or worse, you could forfeit a project because you believe, after seeing something like it on TV, that it's not so original.

    Always write with the TV on? Then it becomes a crutch, a pacifier you need to have just to get the hamster running.
     
  6. marina
    Offline

    marina Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2008
    Messages:
    1,280
    Likes Received:
    55
    Location:
    Seattle
    A lot of writers whose blogs I follow seem to have a bunch of TV shows they watch and sometimes write about.
     
  7. evelon
    Offline

    evelon Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2009
    Messages:
    613
    Likes Received:
    24
    Location:
    England
    Doesn't it all depend on what you choose to watch? We have some really good dramas, adaptations from the classics and informative and thought provoking documentaries. Granted they are all jumbled up with the total trash, but they are there if you look.

    T.V. needs writers too, it shouldn't be dismissed.
     
  8. architectus
    Offline

    architectus Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2008
    Messages:
    1,796
    Likes Received:
    14
    Location:
    Ca
    I've never heard a writer say to turn off the TV. I have heard them say not to write while the TV is on. This is sound advice because the TV can distract you from writing, and then the next thing you know you've watched two hours of TV and didn't write a damn word. But you should turn off all distractions while writing. Don't think about that pile of clothes that needs to go into the washer. Do it after you've finished writing. Don't check your e-mail in the middle of writing a scene. These are ways of procrastinating.
     
  9. bruce
    Offline

    bruce Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2009
    Messages:
    109
    Likes Received:
    0
    Don't visit writingforums.org while writing. :D
     
  10. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    arch said what i was just getting ready to write... i've never heard/seen any pros say any such thing, either... other than the spin arch gives it, that is...
     
  11. ManhattanMss
    Offline

    ManhattanMss Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2009
    Messages:
    626
    Likes Received:
    14
    I've often seen criticism of writing (short stories, especially) that associate the writing with TV entertainment (and not in a good way). I remember seeing somewhere a criticism that suggested that (especially) young writers seem to get all their ideas from television (rather than from personal experience or from their own imaginations). In any case, my take on the criticism I've seen where this advice might apply has to do with some of the triteness and cliche and stereotyping that characterizes a lot of television sit-coms and drama.

    So, why not try writing for TV, in particular? It's not at all the same thing as writing short (or even long) fiction. You might find it suits your style. If you do, just write us some good stuff!
     
  12. agentkirb
    Offline

    agentkirb Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2009
    Messages:
    494
    Likes Received:
    8
    Location:
    Houston
    I believe that TV can be a form of inspiration, in writing atleast the main plot, or even in picking out character traits. I find a lot of the characters in stories I write are a derivative of a character I've seen on TV.
     
  13. seije
    Offline

    seije Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2009
    Messages:
    77
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    not so much TV, but i sometimes watch movies for inspiration. I try not to watch anything similar to what i'm writing about, though. As an example, anything by Hayao Miyazaki brings a wave of inspiration my way, even though my novel has very little to do with most of his movies' themes.

    Of course, as everyone else has said, i don't watch movies while writing. It's too much of a distraction. (to be honest, i shouldn't even be on the boards right now, i'm trying to write :p)
     
  14. Fox Favinger
    Offline

    Fox Favinger Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2009
    Messages:
    211
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Yeah I think the phrase refers to literally turning the TV off while writing.

    I personally cannot deal with cable networking, commercials make me forget what I am watching. I'll watch the History or Military though, I'm a big non-fiction guy.

    When the plot of a movie or a video game makes me think (ex. District 9, StarCraft), I can start seeing things differently and take a better approach at my fiction.
     

Share This Page