Tuesday, March 6, 2012

In Which I Ponder

Well, once again I've fallen into the trap of research that I've been trying so hard to avoid. But you know how it is; once an idea seizes you, you sometimes can't help but run with it and see where it leads you.

This is merely an explanation by way of excuse; my fervor for obscure research combined with the utter lack of enthusiasm I have for my job at the moment has kind of burnt out my writing spirit tonight. So, to take a break, I watched M*A*S*H.

Those of you who know me well know how much I love this show and everything about it. The stories it told, the character it created, everything about it, to me, is just the pinnacle of excellent writing. And it is all down to the writing. How else could a character like Col. Flagg, a "gung-holier-than-thou" (as Hawkeye put it) CIA man be so likeable despite his rotten attitude? Or, for that matter, poor old Frank Burns? And how else do you explain that I had and have a crush, not on Hawkeye, but pompous Major Winchester? (Don't answer that, Miss Lucy.)

Watching M*A*S*H makes me remember why I write. I want, some years from now, for people to pick up something I wrote and to read it over and over and never get tired of the characters or the stories. I want to create something enduring and memorable for the right reasons. (And to illustrate the right reasons, I would like to give "Twilight" as an example of the wrong reasons.)

I'll leave you with a clip from the episode I watched tonight, about a pilot who said he was Christ, not to try and get out of the army, but to cope with all the killing he had done in the name of someone else's agenda. This one is one of the funniest episodes, thanks to Col. Flagg, but also one of the most poignant and sweetest.

I'd also like to ask, what do you think makes a written character good? What makes him or her, or it, work? Or not work? What makes a character bad, in terms of writing? I'd really like to know what other people think.

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