Today is the first day of Writing Under the Influence.
I'm going to cover TV, books, movies, music, authors and writers I know that influence me and my writing.
Every Monday I'll post about what influences me and what inspires me. So let's get started.
Today we're talking about GRIMM. It's one of my favorite shows on TV. And I watch more TV than I should no doubt, but I really don't at the same time. I watch a lot of the SAME TV over and over again. I do it with movies, too.
It's like comfort food on the best diet plan ever!
So if you don't know what GRIMM is, I'll tell you.. GRIMM is a show about a detective that finds out his lineage is that of a Grimm, a monster hunter and all the fairy tales we were told growing up are real and not Disney-fied. As a matter of fact, some of them can be pretty...well, grim.
Not all the Wesen(pronounced vessen), the creatures in disguise, are bad or evil. But a lot do turn out on the wrong side of the law. And as humans we can't see their true nature. But the Grimms can. The Wesen can spot a Grimm, too, but we've yet to see how the Grimms look to them.
Oh, and this guy plays Det. Nick Burkhart.
Now here's why and how it influences my writing.
1. The plotting and pacing are top-notch.
Each week there's a wrapped-in-an-hour plot but interwoven in that is the full season/series narrative. Each week I know I'm going to have resolution and yet want to come back for more.
I try to apply this to my writing because I write in series or at least in companions. And I know nothing drives me more crazy than feeling like I read a book just for set-up for the next one. I want to feel a complete story, even if there are threads that pull me in for another part of the tale.
Grimm does an excellent job of this with their resolution vs. cliffhanger ratio.
2. Every character matters.
The GRIMM world is filled with recurring characters. And although it is Nick's story, I'm just as invested in Juliet, Hank and even the Captain's stories. It has become almost an ensemble piece in my eyes.
In writing translation, make every person count. On screen you need extras, but think of your book characters as actors with speaking parts. If you take the time to mention them, they better have a purpose. Make every single person count or they don't need to be there.
3. A secondary character steals the show.
Now I love Nick. He's the reason I started and kept watching to begin with. But within just a few episodes, a Wesen Nick befriended stole my heart and now, every week I wait for him to show up and be awesome. The character is Monroe. He's a BlutBad,(Bloot-bod) which is kind of like a werewolf but hails from The Big Bad Wolf mythology. I love him and his girlfriend Rosalee. The dialogue and sharp wit plus loads of heart he brings to the show not only showcase his quirkiness and make him memorable, but it makes Nick more likable because of the bromance. It gives him a chance for normalcy and levity and that's essential in a story.
As far as writing, your sidekick, best friend, or second in MC-land has to be strong and memorable. It will make your hero or heroine more real to the reader.
4. The world.
GRIMM is set in the current year in a major city and that is all very relatable. But underneath that is a layer and hierarchy of Wesen royalty, the long lineage of the Grimm, and the Wesen everywhere humans look but can't see. It gives a spin to something that could just be normal and everyday. For example, Nick is a cop, but so much more.
I really try to remember this one. Because there's always another way to look at something and make it new.
5. The twist.
This builds off the last one. I love how it takes a trope we've all heard a million times, fairy tales and the hero to save the day, and flips it right on its head. This is such a big reason I love this show. I want to see what they come up with next.
And this is the biggest thing I get from this show, the courage to tell it my way. If I think an idea is too out there or crazy I think, yeah, but look at how it CAN be done. It's taking one grain of 'truth' from a legend and building your own universe. While there might not be any new ideas out there, this show proves there is always a new way to tell your story.
So there you go. If you haven't seen GRIMM, I highly recommend it. Watch it once for fun and then again for a little Writing Under the Influence.
See you Friday!