Television and Writing

One thing that continually interests me is the ways in which various media interact and inform each other. Lately I’ve been wondering how the story structures of television and movies, and the visual language both mediums use to portray them, impact writers.

Jeff has written some about this in the past, most notably in connection with the creation of his novel Finch, and his work has made me question the way that some authors use transitions between scenes and the way that they depict action in their work. Not having had much experience with writing fiction, I can’t speak from experience, but it would make sense to me that for authors growing up in the video age, television would be as much of a stylist influence as the work of other authors. Maybe even more so for some.

This influence must account for the reader’s experience as well. Will the parameters of my reading experience be set by my experience of television or film? Did a reader of the 19th century essentially visualize literature differently from me? How has the reading experience be changed?

I’d be very interested in hearing whether your own writing (and reading) – be it stylistically or in terms of story structure or some other way – has been influenced by TV or movies, and whether you consider it a good or bad thing or not. Also, how do you keep from being influenced if you don’t want to be?

One thought on “Television and Writing

  1. I've had people comment that my writing often feels more like a movie, in that I tend to skip around a lot. Movies and television have of late tended to get a lot more non-linear, understanding that the ideal audience will have the intelligence to follow the plot and wait for further developments when confused. I take this as a compliment, although it speaks poorly on how so many of us demand our entertainment to be spoon-fed to us.

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