25 November, 2015

Binge Watching the Novels I've Read

For the past three days (and nights) I've been watching every episode of  Agatha Christie's Marple.

I just finished watching the last uploaded episode tonight and am sad that it is over (for now, I think, with episode 3 of season 6 being the last).

I guess this qualifies as an addiction, but if I had come to The Musketeers (BBCA) late, it is likely I'd have done the very same thing . . . watch episode after thrilling episode until I'm too tired to watch anymore and then wake up the next day to resume that addiction.

The first time I binge watched anything was a few years ago with Game of Thrones, finding it online via Comcast Internet access I'd signed up for down in Illinois. I ended up watching the entire first season in less than two days and was enthralled, to say the least.

I managed to finish the second season of Game of Thrones just prior to leaving Illinois, and when I got back home, made sure to special order HBO so as not to miss season 3. However, I lost interest when it seemed to have switched gears; concentrating more on blood, gore, extreme violence, and a lot of gratuitous sex. When that nasty, inbred boy died and his sister/brother parents had that rape scene at his coffin . . . that was it for me.

As The Musketeer's ended it's season, I started to watch Ripper Street and became easily engrossed in the plot. It saddens me, though, to think that I may have come in on the tail end of the whole thing. I don't know that there will be another season, and I can't find the beginnings of it online so as to be able to catch up with another binge-watch.

Then there is Poldark, another late-to-me PBS offering that I stumbled upon by chance and got to watch just one episode from the first season; episode 3 or 4, I think. Since then, I've had a devil of a time trying to find it online or on the television to record.

At my son's place, however, I'm able to pay-to-view each episode at $1.99 a go, so I made it through season 1 and will hopefully get to resume watching all of season two that way.

I'm actually afraid to watch an episode of Downton Abbey because I know it's been going on for years and that there must be at least a dozen or more episodes from start to finish (if it is even finished yet). As hard as it was to find Poldark to play catch-up, I think it will be even more difficult to find the very beginnings of Downton Abbey in order to do the same thing.

Six seasons, I believe? Heck, if there is a way to watch seasons 1-6 online, I'd be in binge-watch heaven!

A majority of my life was not spent in front of the idiot box. I grew up at a time when television wasn't so much for children as it was for adults who either became engrossed in daytime soap operas while the kiddies were away at school, or the nightly news broadcasts and sporting events.

Sunday evenings were a big deal with The Wonderful World of Disney and a bowl of popcorn.

I grew up on music and books and later, writing. If it wasn't a book, then I wanted to be outside playing and not indoors.

Now, however, and with too much time on my hands, binge watching what appeals to me as a writer is not as difficult or even time consuming as it might seem.

I remember reading as many of the Agatha Christie novels as I could get my hands on back in high school, and then it was her Poiroit Mysteries. When those came out on PBS, it was probably when I began to binge watch -- or to become addicted to something on the television.

All Creatures Great and Small was another, and I read all of those novels as well.

I used to think that watching anything on television would somehow destroy my imagination as a writer, and you'll notice, too, that none of the series I'm so fond of are American-made.


Reading will probably always be the best way to learn how to write, but watching what you've already read is an even better way to reach an understanding about how words create scenes, how those scenes are best set, and what makes a character so dynamic.

Scene-setting is an interesting aspect.

It amazes me how many movies I've watched over the years and never noticed the scores until it is just the movie scores I am listening to, and then suddenly that movie takes on a whole new meaning.

I love movie scores and yet never tend to hear them when I'm watching a movie.

So, too, with watching  a drama based on a novel I've read, and suddenly the places, the faces, and even the scenery take on a new dimension in my head.

This helps a writer to concentrate on more than just the dialogue, believe it or not. For me, anyway, I'm suddenly staring at the castle or manor house behind the people doing all that talking. The walkways and are they paved, dirt, grass, or gravel? What kind of trees are those? Did I just hear a woodpecker pecking at one of them? Wow! Look at all of that leaded glass on that gray stone mansion back there!

I see whether or not the men are in wool vests, bow ties, and how they've fashioned their hair. I especially note their pants waist lines, which tend to rise and fall depending on not only the era but age and even circumstance.

Wallpaper is another thing that jumps out at me, and also how stairs are not only positioned inside a house but whether or not they curve, disappear inside a ceiling line, make any creaking noises, or are they real wood or painted? Plain or carpeted?

It has come to my attention that these are the things that deserve attention in a novel if you want the reader to have a better understanding of place within a scene.

Talking about the weather might not be cool, but describing it in a scene is. And, not to spend a few paragraphs on it, but to give enough detail in a few sentences to make the reader feel like she'd get wet without an umbrella or start to shiver even with the thermostat turned up in her reading room.

And now, I'm off to start another binge-watch marathon of Foyle's War using Uverse this time.


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