Monday, June 8, 2015

Longmire, Legos and Storytelling

I’m a proud member of the boob-tube generation. I love television. I love movies. Having grown up during the eighties, I have a childish love of action flicks and tend to deride the romantic comedy. Luckily, for me, my reading and writing pleasures don’t necessarily conform to my viewing preferences. In point of fact, I don’t enjoy reading westerns but ♥ watching them. Legal dramas are compelling entertainment, but I am reluctant, despite my day job, to try my hand at writing one as I don’t enjoy reading them. The show Longmire, in my opinion much under-rated, wonderfully combines law and order with cowboy sensibilities. You wouldn’t think it would work, but dear Lord it really does.
After A&E cancelled the show, Netflix grabbed it up & new episodes will air!
The characters are complex, flawed and heroic. The storytelling is top-notch. And I can’t find fault with the cinematography – it’s visually stunning. There are times when the setting and the score speak volumes though the characters are silent. I want my writing to be as fluid [it’s certainly under-rated ;) ].

When you consider the episodic format of television, it’s not unlike the chapter system employed in literature. Each chapter should have its own plot, broken down into three clearly defined stages: begging, middle and end. The end of a chapter should encourage the reader to start the next. And while each tells its own smaller story, that story should move forward the main plot of the book towards a satisfying conclusion. Not unlike, not even a little, the way each episode tells an encapsulated tale that moves the viewer toward the season finale.

Trilogies and other serials are slightly more complicated, but it’s still just a matter of building blocks. Like Legos.
When I’m writing I try to keep Longmire and its admirable Legos in mind. Setting the scene, creating an atmosphere for my – hopefully – complex and compelling characters to chew up with lyrical dialog all while building my story, chapter by episodic chapter.

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