Have you seen this series? If not, then I think you should. I highly recommend it be watched to improve your writing skills.
Why? Because it is extremely well written. The writers managed to take characters who are horrific and pull you in to watch more. Now I am not saying the characters are horribly written. No sirree. No, instead I am saying the characters are extremely well written. It’s just they are the epitome of horrific people.
The plot revolves around the murder of the main character’s husband. This is not a straightforward plot either. It is written in flash backs over the entire season in such a manner you can’t wait to see what happens next. In fact, they hide who was murdered effectively as they show the characters response to the murder and how they cover it up.
Each character’s personality begins to take form. In fact, their ability to justify their actions and move on to even more horrendous ones are the highlight of the show. I must admit, I hated the characters. I yelled at the TV often to the chagrin of my wife. I grew angry at the characters and wanted to slap each one on the back of the head.
I was invested in the story as you can tell. The writers crafted a series of awful events that propelled the series through five seasons. It grew a little tired in some of the episodes, but they managed to rescue these moments with ones that followed to keep you wanting more.
There are no heroes in this show nor are there any anti-heroes. Each character’s flaws grow as the series continues. Flaws which they justify as needed to protect themselves and the others from their own criminal acts. Not a single character is one you want to be close to. In fact, I wanted to send them all to prison for life.
In essence, the entire series was well written, well produced, well-acted, and well directed. I both hated the show and loved it. I hated the characters and the way they acted but loved the way they were written. Loved the way the writers managed to keep the storylines going and connected.
Of course, the main character got away with all her evil deeds and they make her out at the end to be a wonderful person but in the background, you are reminded she was not good. Not at all. She simply was able to twist the system for herself as others attempted to twist it towards their goals. No one, not a single person in the entire series except one was any good as a person and that one was murdered.
I highly recommend if you write that you watch this show. See how they use flashbacks effectively. Most don’t and in some cases shouldn’t use flashbacks. However, this show would not have worked if flashbacks weren’t used.
Watch it to see how they developed the characters flaws. We all have flaws. The characters in this series flaws are incredibly bad and get worse as the series goes on. Watch this to see how the writers develop the characters into what they are at the end. I warn you, the characters are racist, sexist, narcissistic, ego driven maniacs and those are the young ones. I can’t begin to tell you how angry they made me with their views on life and themselves.
It is impossible to watch this show without getting involved. While you are involved though, look around. Use your skills as a writer to understand how the story is crafted and what they use to keep the story interesting. Use your abilities in observation to look at the interplay between characters and how they take the obvious you expect and twist it. Make it fresh when it should be old and worn out.
There you go, a television series that lasted as long as it could go and then stopped. Each episode was a well-crafted story which led to the next episode. I consider it an example for all writers of how a story can be crafted to keep a reader or viewer coming back for more. It’s not the only way of course but it possesses enough examples that a writer can use them to make it worth the while.
I’m Ross, the Editor-in-Chief at The Pyrateheart Press and I’m out.