Lessons from the Aether: Soap Operas

Tweet of the Day: 5 Signs You Might Be a Windbag


Or a Guide to How Not To Write…Anything!

The long time reader of this blog may have detected a certain…disdain for soap operas.  The reasons for the disdain match those for why you should never write like a soap opera:

  • Shallow Characters: If you can swap Luke for Jake, Jane for Jacky and get the same results, your characters are shallower than pancakes,
  • Unconnected Scenes: A story is more than just a collection of repetitive, unrelated scenes,
  • Shocking Swerves: Are to be avoided at much as possible, if you use this trope to create tension, specially cliff hangers, might as well drop the story down the abyss,
  • Cheap Appeals to Emotion: Emotions without context is porn, but without the actual sex, blah!
  • Bad Dialogue: When actors say their lines in three octaves louder than police sirens, make faces like they just ate a plate full of month old mayonnaise and earn William Shatner an Oscar, you know you have stinker on your hands,
  • Bringing People Back from the Dead: Why should I care if Shirley has a gun, if the the writers can resurrect Lucas when ever they want, or when the actor returns from “Hollywood” penniless and broken?

So there you have it, an easy list of things thou shall never do, put or otherwise find in your writing.


And now for something to cleanse the palate:

2 comments on “Lessons from the Aether: Soap Operas

  1. Hey now, I at least give credit to the makers of Coronation Street for blowing up…the entirety of Coronation Street at one point. Which almost made up for the awful fixture that show was to any Canadian child who grew up with only CBC coming in on the rabbit ears. Except the show’s still on, for some reason, despite…y’know, the EXPLOSION that blew up the ENTIRE SETTING.

    The most annoying part of soap operas really is the narrative structure, which follows a specific pattern meant to keep the show from ever reaching any satisfactory conclusions: that is, starting story arcs in the middle of other story-arcs but always wheeling back to the status quo each time a story line ends. You cannot, under any circumstances, allow characters to actually develop, or make more than passing references to previous storylines that under any other circumstances would have had profound and extreme effects on character personalities. All these folks should just be huddled in their basements suffering the effects of PTSD after all the ridiculous things they go through including but not limited to murder, arson, adultery, and high school formals.


    • You, sir, are a better man than I, for I do not have the constitution to stomach any such fare long enough to come up with such a detailed and well articulated analysis.

      Have an Interwebs +1 on me.:)


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