Really Bad TV

Dear Writers:

I frequently wonder if other writers share my not-too-secret penchant for really bad TV—not necessarily awful shows but as in TV time that’s really bad for getting other stuff done and can turn your brain into “mushy-mush,” to quote Hulu.

I get obsessed with certain shows for brief periods of time, and it’s always—almost always—related to an element of a story I’m working on. Writing for my Shoeless collection, I had a protagonist who drove an excavator, so I started watching Swamp Loggers to better understand large machinery in motion and how it’s maintained. Drafting a story set in Alaska drove me to Deadliest Catch, research and a cool show to boot.

But recently my TV taste went awry. I fell into watching The Bachelor, and now it’s the Monday night event at my house. This morning, after catching up on a few Bachelor blogs, I found my writing reason for being hooked on the show: Continue reading

The Untimely Death of a Main Character

Dear Writers,

For a decade of my life, from 1990 until starting grad school in 2000, I worked as a college recruiter for Micron Technology of Idaho. On February 3, Micron’s 51-year-old CEO Steve Appleton died in a small plane crash. Steve was stupendously talented and really awesome to me during my years at Micron–I consider Micron to be where I grew up professionally and in many ways personally. Of course all weekend and this morning he’s been on my mind.

As usual, whatever happens in life works its way into my story brain, and Continue reading

Story Question for Today

Dear Writers,

For those of you working on stories, as your character moves through and interacts with the story world, what seemingly minor element did they notice just now that will inform their actions in a future scene and in a way that may have important ramifications for the larger story? The sun is shining here in Western Washington. Go take a walk and practice seeing the world through the eyes of your character. Continue reading