Sunday, September 30, 2012

How I Met Your Magic Talking Wizard Cat

How I Met Your Mother is one of my favorite television and on at least.  The most recent seasons have made me question why I still spend 22 minutes with characters that are barely shades of their earlier selves, back when the show was truly something special...I better stop before I get to rambling.  No one wants that.

Now, this may seem like a random topic, but I feel that this show has taught me something about writing and should be a little bit of a lesson for other writers out there. 

Do not do this with your books...please

So, for any unfamiliar with HIMYM, it follows Ted Mosby as he tells his children the story of how he met their mother, thus the show's title.  The show centers around Ted and his closest friends(Marshall, Lily, Robin, and Barney).  I'm not going to go into much about the show, but I want to point out that is currently on season 8...and Ted still hasn't met the mother.  

Ted not meeting the mother is not my complaint.  I mean, that's the whole vehicle for this show.  Take that away, and it would have to be renamed, How I Knocked Up Your Mom or something(as Ted seems to have no qualms about detailing his sexual escapades to his children...why not traumatize them a little more?)  No, my complaint is about something I read about the show recently.

See, HIMYM has been getting its highest ratings over the past couple seasons, and higher ratings means more money.  More money = studio pressure to continue the show.  This led to a 2 season pick up before season 7, probably to keep hold of Jason Segal(Marshall), and Neil Patrick Harris(Barney), who probably command a pretty hefty paycheck at this point.  The show has started to really drag.  There's been a ton of build up to the reveal of the mother, going as far to showing clips from the exact day it happens at a particular wedding.  Now all we have is filler to get there.  Each new girl Ted meets before that day = instant pointless, waste of time relationship.  One that will most likely last over a half-season arc or so.  The other characters are mere shadows of their former selves and do little to help balance out the dragging mother storyline.

See, I've started rambling anyway.  Damn.

The series creators have said that they are going into season 8 as if it is the last while keeping a plan B in mind in case they are picked back up for season 9.  Here's where I start to have a problem with the whole thing.  They know the ending.  They know it would fit into this season.  Yet, they're ready to drag it out.  Hell, they are basically admitting they have a plan to drag it out.  

So, I plead to any writers out there: don't drag out your stories.

In Korin's Journal, I have a trilogy in mind.  There is a beginning and end.  It will occur over three books.  I don't care if somehow when book 2 is released I sell a million copies of it.  Book 3 will end the story.  Can more stories be told in its universe?  Maybe.  But as for the main story, it will stop at 3.  And honestly, I love my characters.  When I start book 3, I'm going to have moments where I want to keep it going just to hold on to them  (Don't worry, I won't, though).  I know the story, and it does not need the fluff.

A lot of writers are guilty of this.  I hate to name this one because of his impact on my own writing and the legacy he left with his passing, but Robert Jordan was a good example of this.  Now, that said, I love every book in the Wheel of Time series.  Yet, from book 6 or 7 until about book 10, there is a ton of material that feels like a means of drawing the story out over an extra book or 2.   I know that the series was originally pitched as a trilogy, and I am glad that it did not turn out that way; the story turned into something so much bigger and better.  However, there are a couple books worth of content that could easily be scrapped from the series and it would not be missed.  Kind of like most of seasons 6 and 7 of HIMYM. 

For any who saw all this text and just scrolled down here to the bottom, if you are a writer, don't drag out your works just for the sake of holding onto characters or because of success.  Doing so will eventually come back to bite you if your readers pick up on the fact of what you are doing, and, they probably will.

Now, here's a palate cleanser after my little rant:

 The truth behind the writing of Korin's Journal.  I'm off camera taking a nap.

Brian Beam

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