Wednesday, July 24, 2013
We all have a favorite episode...
We all have favorite episodes of our favorite shows, right?
Like in Big Bang Theory, where the guys have to camp out in line at the movie theater to see the re-release of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, with the so many seconds of extra footage at the end, but they end up not making it to the line in time to get in, so Sheldon, who grows tired of saying "I told you so" switches to "I informed you thusly" and ends up stealing the movie reels and running through town with an angry mob behind him...
Or like the Friends episode where Rachel gets the recipe pages stuck together, and makes half a Shepherd's Pie and have a dessert parfait....lady fingers and beef...bahahaha.
Or the episode of Gilmore Girls where Rory and Logan jump from the secret society platform in fancy clothes and umbrellas...
Yeah. We all have favorites :)
So, "episode" can be a good thing. But in your writing, if you ever see your editor or agent or critique partner use the word "episodic", watch out. That's NOT a good thing. :)
Episodic writing is, essentially, a scene that does nothing to move the story forward. I've been called out on this before from my Love Inspired editor in days past, and it took me a bit to catch on. Because to us, our characters are real, and they live and move and breathe. So it's really easy to just hang out with them on the page and maybe have them do something cute or funny or even dramatic, for...no...real...reason....Yeah. You know what I mean!! You've done it! :)
Now, that method of writing is fine when you're in the rough draft stage, and you're maybe trying to get to know your characters better. Sometimes having them banter back and forth or randomly go play a sport or go to the mall or something can help you learn more about them. That's GREAT! Just be sure to delete that "fluff" before you submit to a professional.
If you're not sure if a scene is episodic or not, ask yourself these questions.
Does this scene have a purpose in my overall plot line?
If I take this scene out, will there be any detriment or confusion to the reader at any point?
Does this scene reveal my character's motivation, goal, or conflict for the story?
If you have any questions about this, shoot!
And share some of your favorite TV episodes in the comments, just for fun!! :)