The settings of TV shows can be inspirational as well. You can’t use a drama for research, but you can get the feel of a place from a TV show.
I loved the show Men in Trees. I watched it while I was writing my story set in the northwest, because the show, while set in Alaska, was filmed in Washington. Also during that time I watched a lot of Gilmore Girls because I was writing a small town story and I wanted the feel of a small town story.
While I’d never want to be treated in Seattle Grace or County General, I could watch Grey’s Anatomy or ER for the feel of a hospital. Also, I learned hospital hierarchy from those shows. I haven’t used that information—yet.
Writing spies? Watch Burn Notice and Alias. Be careful what you take from the shows, but they can be inspirational. (Michael Weston…mmm.)
And nothing makes me want to write about the south like True Blood.
Want to write about a particular city, but don’t have the cash to go there? This little website is fun: http://www.hottimescoolplaces.com/TVshows.htm
What if you want real information? I know my friend Tricia Mills watched Tougher in Alaska when she was writing her young adult novel, Winter Longing. I watched Ghost Hunters when working on my paranormal. Writing about cops and tired of watching Law and Order? DEA is a good show to catch. Good information can be gleaned from the Discovery Channel or the History Channel. I set a wish list on my Tivo for whatever subject I want to catch.
Yes, I watch a lot of TV, but I always try to take something from it.
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