First, I want to say "Thank you, so much!" to Lisa's pharmaceutical expert, Dave Hopkins, for taking the time to visit with the Rockville 8 and for his fantastic answers to our questions.
And now, I want to talk about soap opera.
My mom loved Days of Our Lives, so I grew up watching the good families of Salem. But it wasn't until I had two small kids myself -- and Bo Brady rolled into town on his motorcycle -- that I got HOOKED. And not long after that, Patch Johnson, Bo's ex-BFF, came to Salem looking for revenge.
Oh, the bromance! Oh the conflict!
Oh, the soap opera . . . to this day, it's my favorite kind of television.
Not that I'm still watching Days of Our Lives -- I had to give that up when my youngest started school and I went back to work. But, luckily for me, there's plenty of soap opera in night time television, too.
Veronica Mars. Friday Night Lights. The Vampire Diaries. Being Human. Luther. Justified. The Walking Dead.
Give me a good anti-hero and I'm IN (Hello, Patch!).
Give me a good bromance in a conflict lock, a la Bo & Patch (Damon & Stefan, Boyd & Raylan, Shane & Rick) and you've got me riveted to the screen.
When The Walking Dead first debuted, it didn't interest me at all. But that's because they didn't advertise it as a soap opera. LOL. I heard good things about it, about the writing, but I didn't hear the right things so I never looked it up.
Luckily, I kept hearing good things, and then I got a Roku and, on a whim, I cued up the first episode of The Walking Dead.
And then the next. And the next.
Anti-hero. Bromance. Conflict lock. Honor at the core (Thanks, Mary Blayney!). The Walking Dead has it all.
Yes, it's the end of the world. Yes, the earth is overrun with zombies. But that's just the backdrop for the soap opera of a cast of good (i.e., fascinating, not necessarily moral) characters making difficult choices. And that's what I love and need to learn to do in my own writing.
I'm not much interested in episodic shows like Law & Order or CSI in all their many incarnations. The case of the week can be interesting to catch here and there, but it doesn't hold my interest the way an ongoing saga of human emotions does. And as I was rewatching some of TWD season 2 last night, it occurred to me that the key to all of that is in the choices. The writers set up the storylines, like dominos, and then they knock them down. They create characters that I care about and then they force those characters to make a choice.
My favorite storylines are the ones where the character makes what should be the right choice -- and it gets them into even deeper trouble.
So. That's what I'll be thinking about, as I set up the dominos of my own storylines . . . what choices will my characters have to make?
And how will that make it worse?
Or, as they say on the companion show, Talking Dead, "What's eating YOU?"