Wednesday, April 7, 2010

5 Things Writers Can Learn From Doctor Who

I just finished watching the first season of the new Doctor Who series, and I have to say... I'm in love :).

Not just with the Doctor himself (though, that is also true), but with the whole shebang! It was truly love at first episode.

I tried to analyze why this show enthralled me so much when other shows are constantly disappointing, and came up with a few pearls of wisdom that can help us in our writing as well.

Top 5 Lessons For Writers From Doctor Who:

1) Keep the mystery alive! No one likes a 2 Dimensional protagonist, antagonist, sidekick, you name it. Make sure there is a little mystery in your characters to keep us intrigued. The main character in "Doctor Who" is known simply as The Doctor, and his background unravels piece by piece, keeping us wanting more. The man doesn't even have a name, and we love it!

2) Don't be afraid to get silly! Change things up once in a while by throwing a little humor into your dark, dramatic scenes. What do people do when things get tense? COPE. And they usually do it with a little bit of weirdness, nervous laughter, etc. Don't be afraid to mix up your drama with a splash of humor.

3) Work your villains! So what if your main villains look like a pepper grinder had a baby with R2-D2? Make them scary by adding some motivation--make us feel for the evil pepper grinders, and they'll be all the more terrifying because they remind us of ourselves.

4) Be a tease! Hold out on your audience until the last possible second. Make us beg for a little romance to blossom and then withold it. Make us believe that one character is really truly dead until we give up all possible hope, then wait a little bit longer still before revealing they're okay. We'll thank you for the suspense and come back for more!

5) Don't be afraid to rock a good thing! Doctor Who is the longest running science fiction series ever, and is still going strong. Is there something you're fantastic at writing? Are you amazing at dialogue? Is your worldbuilding extraordinary? Don't be afraid to squeeze every last ounce of that mojo out onto the paper. Keep a good thing going!

What about you guys? Does anyone else love Doctor Who and have any lessons to add?


Candyland said...

Oooohhh love this!!!

Angela said...

I'm a HUGE Doctor Who fan (the show even gets a little spot in my novel). Very cool comparison between the show and writing!

Darlyn said...

Your post made me want to watch the series. Even though I haven't seen it yet, you made me think about how to make my readers want to keep on turning the pages. :)

Scott said...

I love Dr. Who - the series. I've been watching it off and on for, well, not going to go there. I have seen way too many incarnations of the Dr! I can't wait for the latest one that's supposed to start airing on BBC America later this year. Woo-hoo!

Great post, btw.


Ann said...

Now I have to watch Dr. Who and I was delighted at how I had reduced my telly watching of late. LOL!!!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I haven't watch Dr Who since I was living in England and Tom Baker was the doctor. I had to stop watching because 1. The Darricks gave me nightmares. 2. We moved to the states and you guys didn't have the show at the time.

Abby Annis said...

I've been hearing a lot about this series lately. I'll have to check it out. :)

Latasha Ewell said...

Supernatural is another good one for writers. You should check it out if you get the chance.

Margo Berendsen said...

Great analysis! Writers can learn from mediums other than books - I analyzed the movie Avatar for the same reasons.