In Which Our Heroine Compares Books and TV

So my best friend and I were having one of our great IM chats today because she was one of the many people on the internet who is less than pleased with how the ending for How I Met Your Mother turned out. I will not reveal any spoilers for those who might be concerned. I never watched the show, but I knew something about it and was asking questions or making observations as someone who writes rather than a fan of the show. A lot of our conclusions came down to why TV writing and book writing are different. As much as I love my TV shows, I have kicked some shows off the DVR list (and one network) after committing some seriously bad writing.

So, I shall now present my list of why books are better than TV.

  1. Your characters will never decide they want to go off and pursue other projects when their contract runs out. In TV, this often results in a scramble to write off a character which may also kill plot lines that have been developing and leave fans feeling cheated and angry. When you are a writer, your characters leave the story when you are good and ready to let them leave and you get to decide how. George R.R. Martin likely makes characters wish they could unionize.

  1. You have characters and not actors. You do not have to worry about bad story lines popping up as a result to deal with an actor or actress that has becoming pregnant, gotten arrested, or taken a trip to rehab. Never mind the highly difficult situation of how to cover for an actor’s tragic death which has happened too much as of late in the entertainment industry. It isn’t that I dislike actors, or that I don’t respect actresses who are pregnant (I have two kids), or actors/actresses who try to face their problems through rehab, but I have seen some bad writing result to explain their disappearances.

  1. No one complains about casting choices in books.

  1. Books have editors. TV episodes are mostly screened for things that fall under the “indecent” category. Books are also screened for character development and plot lines. How many times have you seen a TV show do something that makes no sense or seems to betray the development of a character? How about time spent setting up a plot line that vanishes without a trace never to return? If a showrunner has a bad idea that falls with in the safe zone of a decency category, it happens.

  1. Your author stays the same. Except in cases where writers do work for hire, an author gets to stay the boss of their worlds and characters. How many times has a network fired the creator of a show and replaced them? Ever notice how this can change the whole feel of a show? A new creator might go off on a tangent with characters or storytelling that the creator never would have done, often leaving original fans pretty ticked off, while new fans don’t see what the problem is.

Do you have a reason why book writing is better than TV writing? Is there a show you watch or watched that pulled one of these much to your annoyance? Please comment bellow, but comment readers, beware of spoilers!  

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