Another place I draw inspiration from TV is in the story themes. There are supposedly only so many plots in the world, but endlessly different stories can be made from them.
Look how many “Romeo and Juliet” stories there are, which boils down to forbidden love. Or stories where the main characters are out for vengeance. Often in romance this need is tempered by love, so we can have more than one theme running through a story.
My personal favorite theme to watch is the underdog story. I’m always drawn to underdogs, whether it been in sports or American Idol or Survivor. I haven’t been inspired to write an underdog character yet, though.
Another one I love is the quest. I love the Lord of the Ring movies and the Mummy movies and the Librarian movies. Back when Silhouette was publishing the Bombshell books with the kick-ass heroines, I glommed on the Evelyn Vaughn Goddess books, which outlined a quest. Now I’m doing the same for Elisabeth Naughton’s romantic adventures.
Fish out of water stories can be fun to write, and to watch, as the character feels his or her way about in a new world, or a new social circle.
I noticed that some of my favorite shows don’t fit neatly in a category, especially sitcoms, or ensemble casts like Gilmore Girls and Grey’s Anatomy. Maybe someone can see where they would go better than I can.
Here are some of my favorite themes and my favorite shows that go with them.
Vengeance: The Fugitive
Underdog: Firefly, Burn Notice, The Big Bang Theory
Quest: Heroes, 24, Supernatural, The Sarah Connor Chronicles
Rescue: LOST, Prison Break (first season)
Forbidden Love: Buffy, True Blood
Justice: NCIS, any of the Law and Orders or CSI, The Mentalist
Fish out of Water: Men in Trees
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