NOT YOUR USUAL SUSPECTS

A group blog featuring an international array of killer mystery, suspense, and romantic suspense writers. With premises and story lines different from your run-of-the-mill whodunits, we tend to write outside the box. We blog several times a week on all topics relating to romantic suspense and mystery, our writing, and our readers. We welcome all comments and often have guest bloggers. All our authors can be contacted separately, too, using their own social media links.

We find our genre delightfully, dangerously, and deliciously exciting - join us here, if you do too!


Julie Moffet . Clare London . Cathy Perkins . Jean Harrington . Daryl Anderson . Nico Rosso . Maureen A. Miller . Sandy Parks . Lisa Q Mathews . Sharon Calvin . Lynne Connolly . Janis Patterson

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Can We Brainstorm?


What about this for a plot? 

A devoted family man with a child suffering from an incurable disease and a surprise baby on the way is diagnosed with lung cancer. His job provides a barely livable wage and little or no insurance to cover his treatment. He needs money to provide for his family after he's gone. So, what does he do? He turns to a life of crime, cooking meth, murdering people good and bad, being the reason for others being killed, and destroying his family.

Or, a mob boss who murders, steals, cheats on his wife regularly, sees a shrink and has people working for him that do the same.  Or a serial killer who works for the police department (and has other family members who work there) so he can track down his victims.  Do you think these stories will work? Sound too demented? Sound like it’s already been done? It has.

These are the basic plots for Breaking Bad, the Sopranos, and Dexter. Three of the highest-rated small screen shows ever. Millions of people, me included, were addicted to these shows.  Walter White is the characters name in Breaking Bad. I don't know if any of you watched it but, it was beyond addictive. Walter was unredeemable one moment and you felt sorry for him in the next. Not only him but his partner, Jesse, a drug addict and even more unredeemable. If you didn't watch it you're probably wondering why I did and like it. All I know is the writing was brilliant. I cared about these unredeemable characters. The Sopranos did the same thing. So did Dexter. I never knew what was coming next. The writers had me hating a character for their despicable behavior one minute and then the next they did something that had me feeling empathy for them. There are two other shows, Boardwalk Empire and Homeland, that evoke the same feelings. I find these shows have valuable writing lessons.  Villains I can feel for and understand their motivation. Incredible foreshadowing.  Hooks that keep me coming back every week. Surprises I never see coming. Spot on dialogue. 
          
I am as sorry to see Breaking Bad and Dexter end, as I was the Sopranos. I’m considering getting the Breaking Bad DVDs to keep learning from the masterful writers.
What about you? Do you like any of these shows? Do you ever use TV or the movies as teaching tools?


Rita writes sexy stories suspense/thrillers about Extraordinary Women and the Men They Love with Military Heroines.
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Under Fire: The Admiral 

5 comments:

Elise Warner said...

Fascinating blog, Rita. A protagonist has to be less than perfect to interest his writer and the reader and the antagonist has to make us understand the whys and wherefores of his behavior. The shows were written by excellent writers and used actors that got under the skin of their characters.

Anne Marie Becker said...

I've just started watching Dexter, and am up to Season 2, but I LOVE his character. It's been fascinating, trying to figure out how the writers make us root for the "bad" guy. :) I definitely try to pick apart any TV show or movie I like and see what makes it tick. My first lesson as a writer was to make the characters flawed. Hard to do, since I wanted everything to work out well for them. LOL

Rita said...

Elise, yes brilliant writers. Another thing I found fascinating about BB was the fact it was aired on AMC not a mainstream network. I watched an interview with the creator and writers who staid the show would have never made in on a network. They would have never been allowed to develop the story lines they did. Sounds a bit like the publishing industry.

Rita said...

Anne Marie, sigh I have the same problem making everyone too perfect. Dexter took my breath away more than once. I mean really? He’s killing people right and left and the writers have us cheering for him and biting our nails wondering if he’d going to get caught. So much to learn.

jean harrington said...

You hit a chord, Rita, with The Sopranos. Tony was absolutely fascinating, a bad guy who was vulnerable. You had to love him and hate him at the same time. During the same hour!

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