novel writing, Writing, writing a book

Looking to Television for Writing Inspiration: Part 4

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Photo by Rene Asmussen on

This time around, I plan to conclude my series of TV shows that inspire my novel writing by looking at a sci-fi fantasy show. What I love about this genre is that it allows me to tune out everything and escape into another world. As a writer, I want to create a novel that does the same thing for the reader. It’s a noble ambition I can only hope to achieve. In television, I’ve found one show that has successfully achieved that goal and inspires me in several ways. That show is Beyond.

Beyond is an hour-long drama that tells the story of Holden Matthews, a 24-year-old man who wakes up from a 12-year coma with no ill effects – and with special powers. It ended its second season on Freeform in March and episodes can be found on Hulu, the Freeform App, or On-Demand. Although Freeform has reportedly canceled the show, I hope the execs backtrack or another network or streaming service picks it up.

Creator Adam Nussdorf did such a great job in crafting this show. His focus on characters was spot on. That’s especially true for Holden, a full-grown man who woke up still feeling like a 12-year-old. We watched him struggle to adjust to his new normal, which included newfound powers he couldn’t wrap his mind around. As a viewer, I sympathized with his plight. That connection inspires my own writing as I strive to create relate-able characters a reader will want to feel invested in.

I’ll touch more on characters in a minute. But first, I want to talk about how effectively Beyond created a plot and kept it moving forward. This drama was packed with suspense and every nuance of each episode drove the story straight ahead, leaving no room for extraneous fluff. That’s a great template for me in my novel writing.

Now, I want to get back to characters. Each and every character had a purpose. And what we, the audience, knew about that purpose may change. There were some characters we loved, we loved to hate, or vacillated between the two. Nussdorf did an amazing job of creating those characters and using them to continue driving the plot and kept us as an audience at the edge of our seats, waiting to find out what happened next. That taught me that in my novel writing, I need to make sure I fully develop the characters and make sure they, too, help drive the story.

While Beyond is a drama, it did a great job of adding just the right amount of humor to break up the dramatic tension. That’s really important to me because I love going on a journey that’s well rounded and truly layered. It’s something I’m striving for in my own writing.

Another lesson Beyond taught me is how to craft a series. The show’s second season created a new set of issues and introduced new characters, all while never losing sight of Holden’s plight. That’s just plain good storytelling. And it’s something to keep in mind if I decide to write a novel series.

Beyond is one of my favorite TV shows. And like any good show, it all starts with great writing. It’s that writing that I find quite inspiring.

What inspires your writing? Let me know in the comment section below.





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