We are being swamped more and more every day by inane reality television programmes and the opportunity to watch new good quality crime drama is in danger of disappearing. Witness the situation in the UK. Surely it is a crime when ITV axe 'Wire In The Blood' at a time when Val McDermid is still producing excellent Tony Hill novels. So, let's be honest, how many of you out there are still writing with television in mind? Don't forget, the readers make the book a success. Television is a bonus. So, are you still deluding yourself? I am...only joking.

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I watch very little TV, and all of that is prerecorded old shows. My subject doesn't lend itself to TV, though it would make terrific movies.
I think the story dictates what I'm writing. Some stories would look better on the small (or big) screen. They're visual stories with actions that make the transition easy. Other stories are practically unfilmable. I don't think it's a very good idea to write a book or short story, hoping it will become a movie or TV show. It's better to just write the best story you can and if you find that it's mostly dialog and action, then maybe you've got a screenplay. The story is the thing.
Here's one new TV show might be fun to watch, for me anyway.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, FX Networks ordered 13 episodes of Lawman, a series based on a character created by Elmore Leonard -- US Marshal Raylan Givens. He wore a big cowboy hat, most recently in the short story "Fire in the Hole", which was included in the 2002 anthology When the Women Come Out to Dance. The character also appeared in earlier stories "Pronto" and "Riding the Rap."

The Hollywood Reporter says the series, written by Graham Yost (Speed, Hard Rain), stars Timothy Olyphant as Marshal Givens, a 19th century-style lawman enforcing his own brand of justice in today's world. Production will start this fall in Southern California with a spring 2010 premiere.

"Graham began with a memorable character from one of America’s foremost crime novelists, Elmore Leonard, and we scored the hat-trick signing Tim Olyphant, who is absolutely pitch-perfect in the role of Raylan Givens," said John Landgraf, president and general manager of FX Networks.
FX has had so many great shows, it's hard to think "Lawman" won't also become a viewing priority. The fact it's based on an E.L. character makes it all the better. It'll do a good job filling the cop void left by "The Shield" (which was insanely good).

P.S. If you're not watching "Rescue Me," you're missing out. Mother of Lucifer, that's a terrific piece of drama.
I think it's very hard not to write cinematically, more or less, in the 21st century--our visual imaginations have all been formed by movies and TV. Do I write with TV in mind? No. Have I thought that my books would make a fine film or TV series? Of course.

As for the decline of traditional scripted television comedies and dramas, it's an interesting phenomenon. HBO is producing some of the best TV drama ever made (The Sopranos. Six Feet Under, Deadwood, The Wire), but the rest of TV is pretty much swirling the bowl. There's a lesson there about bottom-line thinking and the influence of commercial sponsors on programming, I'm pretty sure.
The problem is not so much that writers have a different eye these days. It's more that readers have forgotten how to create mental pictures. TV has done this for them, and that mental faculty has atrophied. That may well explain why there is such an outcry against description. The descriptive passages simply do not connect. Dialogue, however, does connect, because that is what we are used to from watching the box.
I think that's a false distinction, I.J. If readers' brains have been rewired by TV (and studies show that TV has a profound effect on the brain function of young children), then it stands to reason that writers of the same generation would be similarly affected. You can see the difference, anyway, in fiction-writing over time--the plodding pace of the pre-film era vs the much faster pace of early post-war fiction, say, has nothing to do with TV and everything to do with film--you could also blame it on the rise of industrialism, etc.
Not at all. There is also a distinct difference in the writing styles of authors, naturally. As you say, the writers are also affected. The problem here is that writers are experimenters beyond the fact that they write to the public demand or from a narrower imagination. So the distinction isn't as clear as it is with the readers of a certain generation.
In general, human brains are affected by the amount of reading people are doing. People who read little will be more influenced by TV than people who read a lot. A heavy dose of reading may stimulate the lazy brains into visualizing. Similarly, the type of reading a person does also influences reading skill.
We know that reading/viewing habits affect vocabulary recognition and grammar. The fact is that reading has a very wide beneficial influence on brain activity, while TV watching narrows the spectrum of thought processing tremendously.
In other words, communication skills end up relying on increasingly simple verbal exchanges. That restricts the range of flights of fancy considerably.

Umm, I'm listening to a recent P.D.James novel. As always, I stand in awe of her stylistic excellence, her ease with the language, her hitting always the right word, but I rather think a lot of modern readers of mysteries would get bogged down in her prose very quickly.
I truthfully never thought about this before. I've considered writing FOR television but not writing a novel/series with the idea of turning it into a show or movie. Many books/series have been turned into televison but most of them aren't successful except Bones, which has nothing to do with the actual books by Kathy Reichs. There may be others I'm not aware of, that is simply just one show I know of! Maybe books just aren't meant to be made into television?


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