I’m back at it. It’s been a while. Writing writing writing. That’s what I do. Well, I get stuck doing the laundry and cleaning the house, but writing is where I’m supposed to be spending my time.
The holidays are over. All of the offspring have launched, so now it’s just the dogs and me. And the cats. Oh, and The Beard.
We spent a lot of time reading and binge-watching. Epic storytelling is the rage.
I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this, but I have a superpower. It’s more of an evil superpower. If I love a show, it will die. No kidding.
Shows I Love:
Life (with Damien Lewis)
If it’s witty, cutting, and a little dark with excellent writing and a fantastic cast, I’ll kill it. So much so that when friends began their GOT addiction, they begged me NOT to watch it.
Of course, if a show is slightly inane, completely ridiculous, and beyond most reason, it will never die. No matter how much I watch it.
Shows I Love to Mock:
Bones (though to be fair that one did recently end)
Numb3rs (this one did eventually end as well)
This evil superpower doesn’t actually apply to the written word. Those epic story arcs take care of themselves. Usually, through writer’s block, terminal illness, or what I call ‘ghost writeritis.’
Ghost writeritis is the feeling that because a series is so long, the original author has passed the torch to someone who keeps churning out novels, so the cash cow keeps producing. I’ll let you decide which of your favorites you feel fall into this category. I know of at least two.
The writer’s block needs no explanation, nor does the terminal illness. Note in the case of death, a sponsored writer finishing up the series doesn’t fit the ghostwriter scenario.
I started out reading GOT at the recommendation of a friend in 2010. I quickly arrived at A Dance with Dragons well before the HBO series.
I’m also a Wheel of Time reader, as is The Beard. Well, most of it anyway. That one I discovered in 1987 and anxiously waited for each new novel to be released. I stopped with Knife of Dreams, book eleven, and the last book Robert Jordan completed before succumbing to cardiac amyloidosis.
We purchased twelve, thirteen, and fourteen for continuity sake, but haven’t cracked them open more on principle than anything else.
Both epic series have similar problems. They both include novels that don’t provide any forward movement in the plot. If you are part of the GOT or WOT world readers, you know exactly what I mean. I’m not naming names, but at least two of the published GOT novels don’t offer much, and one even takes us BACK to the same events from another perspective.
WOT has at least two maybe three (this is a debate that comes up any time WOT is a topic of discussion) novels that don’t offer anything besides a page count and a book sale.
These novels fall into the cash cow category. Rabid readers (I’m one of them) are clamoring for more, but epics take time, so to fulfill the publishers’ needs, one of those filler books is offered to calm the horde.
More controversy ensues when the projects become developed for television. HBO rocked GOT (I’m only going on hearsay here as I promised not to watch it until it came to a natural end, and now I’m not so sure I’m interested in watching it based on the finale failure).
Mainly because there is no shortage of terrific things to watch nowadays, if you haven’t blown through The Witcher, I don’t know what rock you were under.
I’m carefully metering episodes of The Expanse, a series only The Beard read, but mostly rocking it. (Though if Holden cries one more time, I might vomit.)
I’m going to go back and give Lost in Space another shot. But daring fire and pitchforks, I really do wish Stranger Things would wrap it up.
Here’s what I like, a series either book or television that tells a great story without all of the fluff in say, six episodes/books or less. I’m a literature professor, I like trilogies (shameless plug for The Esau Continuum here), but that’s not to say it’s a binding rule.
Person of Interest wrapped things up in five seasons. The BBC’s Sherlock is a neat and tidy four seasons. Sure, they could squeeze in a fifth, but I’m happy where it landed. Sure, American Horror Story sometimes misses the mark for me, but I love the story switch each season. Granted, I think they are reaching the dry end of the well, but Ryan Murphy is offering us Feud and American Crime Story.
If you’re a writer, a querying, pitching writer, you are feeling it as much as I am. The pressure to have a ‘sure thing.’ The demand to have a ‘strong’ platform. Which is fine if you’re one of those 15-minute of fame people, but the rest of us are trying to tell a good story.
I may be stepping out of the ‘super SciFi geek’ rules, but I don’t need another Skywalker story. Okay, I am loving The Mandolorian, and Baby Yoda is one of the reasons. Yes, I am considering a CBS All Access pass to catch Picard. I think I could get into Tell Me A Story and Why Women Kill. I’ve heard good things about Star Trek: Discovery.
But, I’m more interested in Avenue 5 or Locke and Key. And while I thought I was Marveled-out, Black Widow has me excited again.
Here’s the news if you haven’t heard, WOT is being developed by Amazon. This could be AMAZING, particularly if they learn from HBO’s mistakes. They are already ahead of the curve, the series is complete.