Thursday, April 28, 2016

How Watching Kdramas Helps My Writing

LOL! I had to post this because I'm watching BOF this very moment,
well, as soon as I hit the publish button!
I'm truly part of the club now!

If nothing else, watching kdramas is reinforcing to me the components of what makes a good story, and what keeps people watching/reading. And that even if tropes and cliches are used, they still work, even if they are used over and over again... they work! So I give you:

Ten Ways Kdramas Will Help With Writing
1. There's always always a sad and tragic back story. Why is this person scared to swim? Or drive? Or drive in the rain? Or why are they so closed off? Or obnoxious? Or why do they not care about living? Why are they so worried about their looks? You can bet there's a story behind it all! And you can bet that we'll get a flashback or a clue some other way. Everyone has a story before the story. It makes characters so much more dynamic and layered.
This back flash incident explains many things.

2. All the characters are facing so many issues. Well of course this is a must or there's no story, right? Seems like characters are often facing unemployment, or bullying, or PTSD, or body image issues, or abandonment issues, or friend troubles.. and on and on and on.

Working off the fat!

3. There's always a symbolic talisman. Sometimes a puzzle piece symbolizes a friendship from the past and it that's lost then, all is lost. Or a random pen chosen from a pile of random pens suddenly defines a whole relationship. Or perhaps a certain flower suddenly embodies all the emotions of the characters. Or a rock picked up on a beach now stands for endurance and consistency.  I love it how writers manage to always fit something like this in and give random things such meanings!

Ah, that flower! It becomes so much more!

4. All the lovely quirky characters. There's always a sidekick friend, or a colleague, or boss, or family member that is a little bit crazy. Usually in a fun comedic relief sort of way. They sure have a way of stealing the scene sometimes and keeping things real.

Crazy characters / scene stealers!

5. Here's to vulnerable sympathetic villains. (Usually.) I mean usually the villain or antagonist gets their sad and tragic back story too and then you're all like, oh... now I get it! Now I understand them! And sometimes the villains are just too dang cool to hate. But also, it's true, sometimes they are awful and you just want to wring their necks!

One of my favorite "cool" villains!

6. That first kiss is a long long long time coming! Ah, the "almost" kisses! So many! Almost... and then bam, interruption. Or bam someone changes their mind, or bam they fall asleep, or fall down, or the rain comes, or they are too drunk... or... or...or... but then finally, just when you can't stand it anymore. It happens! Ah, it's the best... book, movie, TV, drama!

Will they or won't they?

7. And then, once they finally get together then so so many things continue to keep them apart. So now we as viewers/readers are on the edge of our seats again. Will it all be okay? Will everything work out? We kept guessing, even though we are pretty sure it's going to be happy ending. It's the best kind of torture!
And then... an earthquake happens!

8. Hospital scenes are so very cathartic! Wow, what's with the so many hospital scenes?! (Actually I was just watching one last night where they faked a hospital scene and the girl was pouring out her heart and then he opened his eyes and said... "Yes, what do you want to say to me?" I was dying! So...real or not real, hospital scenes bring out ALL THE EMOTIONS and are perfect for causing all the defenses and walls to drop. I better stick some into my stories!

And now, he lets it all out!

9. Chapter/episode cliffhangers are a thing. Want your readers to keep turning pages? Want your watchers to never ever go to bed? Cliffhangers! Even if you don't like them they WORK! I've taken to stopping my drama watching in the middle of episodes instead of the the end because it's pretty much impossible to ever quit otherwise.
In which we have a literal cliffhanger!

10. Happy endings! Is this a spoiler? I hope not, but no matter how bad things get there's almost always a happy ending, and we can all get behind that, can't we!? Yes, yes, we can! Here's to happily ever afters!
And they lived happily ever after!

And that, my friends, is how I'm justifying the kdrama thing for now...I can incorporate it all back into the writing! Agreed?


  1. GREAT JUSTIFICATIONS!!!! I love it! And true... even when you hate the drama, they somehow keep you addicted to it and you just gotta keep watching!

  2. Totally! There's a reason these are so addictive. Just remember all these reasons when you get back to writing and you'll do great!

  3. The hospital scene in Oh My Venus tore my heart out as you witnessed my reaction on Twitter. So, yes, they bring out all the emotions.

    This is a great list and I can see all of them in the one drama I watched. I really like how they're just long movies/books since they don't have season after season. They focus on the real story and then you're done. It's a good way to do things.

  4. I haven't watched one since I left South Korea. Missing them!

  5. I haven't ever made this connection before, but you make a great point. Yay for kdramas!



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