I Support the Writers' Strike, But. . .

Saturday, January 12, 2008
I support the writers' strike. I do. And not only because I am a writer, and I know how hard it is to make any money. I have followed the strike a bit, and after signing my own book contract for the first time recently, I realize how every penny counts. Every right that you give away to a publishing or production company counts. Let's face it, without writers, without a lot of you that are reading this blog, all the magazines, newspapers, blogs, Web sites, books, TV shows, and movies we love wouldn't exist. These works become a part of our daily lives. They enter our dreams, our dinner discussions, even our blogs. Even reality TV shows need writers. Someone has to write Survivor host Jeff Probst's brilliant questions and explanations of the competitions. Have you seen him ad lib as a guest host on Regis and Kelly?

But the reason I bring up this strike today is one of the best television shows that I have watched in a long time is in trouble. I don't watch very much TV, and I TIVO everything I want to watch to save time on commercials. Anyway, I'm not sure if it's all because of the writers' strike or if it is not getting the ratings it needs (although it really should. REALLY, please read on.) Women's Murder Club (ABC), which is based on James Patterson's book series, is an excellent show. It caught my interest one day when I was home and vegging out, watching some daytime TV. Angie Harmon, who stars in the show, was on the publicity circuit and on The View. As soon as I heard it was based on Patterson's novels, I was interested. Even if you don't want to admit it, most writers DREAM of someone calling them and saying, "Uh, yeah, we would really love to turn your book into a TV SHOW or even a MOVIE." Come on, admit it, don't you want to see your characters live on screen? Patterson is with the creative process all the way with this series, which makes it even better in my opinion.

Angie Harmon described the show as a cross between Law and Order and Sex in the City (also a book.) It is that and more. If you haven't caught an episode, go to ABC.com and watch one-- in your spare time, of course. I don't want you to use my advice on this blog as an excuse for not meeting those writing goals you set on January 1. Study the characters, the dialogue, the storyline. What makes me care so much about Lindsay Boxer (Angie Harmon's character?) I don't know, but I want to figure it out, so I can put the same kind of care and skill into creating my main character for my YA novel. Patterson, my hats off to you!

I support the writers' strike. I do. But I want my show back. I don't want the writers to give in. I want them to get fair treatment. I want them to get all the residuals they deserve. I also want all the writers for Women's Murder Club back at their laptops with their coffee and telling me what is going to happen with the Kiss Me Not Killer!

Maybe I should look at this positively. I will have more time to reach my own New Year's writing goals without this series on air. I will have more time to read Patterson's novels, too. But, I'm sure many of you feel this way about your own shows. Let us know. Everyone needs the chance to vent, and here's a place to do it. Happy writing!

Margo Dill


Anonymous said...

That is a pretty good show! Though I fear that even if the strike ends, it may not do well because people will hear the name and dismiss it as just a "chick show." Hopefully not. Most of what I watch is on cable and their seasons have ended, but I will miss Criminal Minds and the lat season of Scrubs.

Annette said...

Margo, I just watched my last Tivo'd (can that be a verb?) episode of Women's Murder Club last night.

I feel the same way you do, but my obsession is with Prison Break. But I know why I love that show. The characters are so well-drawn that you either hate them or you love them. The fine-tuned nuances of the villains make me squirm in my seat. The plot is smart, complex, and always engaging. I find myself becoming anxious as the end of each episode approaches because I want it to keep going and going so I can find out what happens next. I would love to be able to capture that feeling in my own writing!

As for the strike, I have many friends out on the picket line (both writers and the actors there to show their solidarity). And I hope it ends quickly with a victory for the writers. They are the most underpaid and under-appreciated contributors in the entertainment industry.

I want them to receive what they are owed--and I want my shows back!

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