As a writer I am an avid tv watcher - usually when I should be writing! And in point of fact as I sit and struggle with the endless continuity problems involved in writing Mage, I have found myself watching a lot of the idiot box lately. There comes a point at which the thought of going back to a book I closed four years ago and promptly forgot about, just to fact check one tiny piece of information, becomes unbearable. A point at which I would rather hit the remote control and watch anything other than write another line.
There is a lesson here to be learned my fellow writers. Or actually two. The first is obviously don't start writing a sequel four years later - the pain of maintaining continuity between the old book which you've completely forgotten about and the new one, is not worth it. The second lesson for those who like me keep a companion document with all the facts and details about the book I'm writing, is of course, don't lose that damned document. It is so much easier to go through a companion document than to do endless word searches through an entire novel.
However, that's my pain at the moment, and completely a problem of my own making. I accept that, just as I accept that by the time Mage is completed I will in all probability have pulled out all my hair and may well have started on the cat!
But on the positive side, all this tv watching lately, has been useful. It has reminded me that there is wisdom in tv land. Great wisdom - and some of it even affects authors. So here - also in part because I can't stand the thought of doing any more word searches through Maverick tonight - I have pulled together a few of the most important lessons I've learned lately. Lessons that I believe we should all take to heart!
Lessons Learned From TV Land:
1 Never piss off a serial killer! Enough said I think. Not sure if this has any relevance to writers save of course for the obvious - don't write unflattering things about these people!
2 There is a subset of human beings who are literally too stupid to live. We call them reporters. These people will literally go out at night, unarmed and without any allies to meet strangers in dark parking garages when they know the people they are supposedly going to meet could be dangerous. And even within this subset there is another subset who are not only too stupid to live, but think its a virtue. We call them plucky female reporters! So the lesson for writers? Don't take up reporting as it's clear it will have a detrimental effect upon both your IQ and your life expectancy!
3 Writers are cursed. I call this Greg's law of Sodding Synchronicity. But whatever you want to call it it is a fact that in any tv series where there is a writer he will always end up at some point being attacked by whatever he writes about. If he writes about vampires, he will suffer a vampire attack. If he writes about werewolves, werewolves will attack him. Crime writers will always end up at some point embroiled in some sort of true crime – often a murder. And so on. The lesson for writers? Either write about pink fluffy bunnies or brace yourself for the consequences!
4 Never stand near the captain or other important members of a cast or crew. If possible don't even be in the same episode. The chances of suffering a horrible death increase exponentially as your rank decreases. And if you don't have a full name, you're doomed. The chances are crewman number five that you're going to die. The lesson for writers? Yeah I don't think there is one – it's just fascinating!
5 Time travel always happens. In any series once it passes a certain number of seasons, you will encounter a time traveller. It cannot be avoided. And said traveller will of course vanish leaving the main characters without evidence and scratching their heads. At much the same time Father Christmas will also appear and then vanish. So the lesson for writers? Expect strange visitors!
6 There are certain people in the world who thanks to their advanced hacking skills will be able to build a neutron bomb from duct tape and paper clips or carry out brain surgery by reading a few books. The lesson for writers? Get to know them – they may also be clever enough to be able to programme the damned dvd player!
Anyway, those are just a few of the lessons I've gleaned lately from the idiot box. No doubt more will follow in time as my hair thins and the cat heads for the hills!