This isn’t just an excuse to binge watch Netflix in the name of research, I promise! You really can learn some great tips for writing by watching TV.
Just like they say the best way to improve your writing is to read, read, read, I think the same can be said for watching your favourite programmes on television. One of the things I struggle with as a writer is describing interesting but accurate character reactions. I tend to rely on the same boring ones and then have the challenge of fixing them during edits.
There are some great tools out there to help writers do this, but one of the ways I’ve found to really test myself is to watch TV and think about how I would describe what the actor is doing. Actors have to learn to portray complex emotions through physical movement so what exactly are they doing?
For example, if the actor is smiling, think about how you would describe that smile. What happens to their eyes, cheeks or jaw when they break into a grin? What type of smile is it – sarcastic, cheeky, sexy?
You can also learn a lot from their tone of voice. How are they delivering their lines and how would you describe it to someone else? Can you pinpoint a certain inflection in their voice, or anything else they do to convey that emotion?
The next time you watch, keep a pad and pen to hand and challenge yourself to describe what they’re doing using different language than you’d normally use. I promise, you’ll learn something and still get to enjoy those box sets you’ve missed!