Journeys of the Heart

An author's journey

Farewell to Battlestar Galactica


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Alas, this past Friday saw the 2 hour finale of one of my favorite TV shows, Battlestar Galactica. As a fan of the campy original 1970’s show, I was reluctant at first to give the retooled version a look-see, but my need for a Friday night fix of science fiction finally forced me to give in.  I didn’t become an instant addict, but the suburb writing and the characters finally hooked me.  I’ll leave it to others to debate the strengths and weakness of the show’s final episode.  Although divine intervention—who would have thunk it?  As a writer, I’ve taken away three lessons that watching the show taught me.

 

1)      Take your original idea and turn it on its head. No one did this better than the writers of this show, starting with casting a woman as Starbuck and then following up with another woman, a low level government cabinet member, as the only choice for president.  Then there was the evolution of the Cylons from pure robots to models that looked and acted completely human.  Every time I thought I knew where they were heading, the writers threw in a new twist.  Some of them blew me away. In the future, I’m going to try to make this approach work for me.

 

2.)    It’s all about the characters.  Ronald D. Moore and his team of writers took an ensemble cast and made us care about them. Over time Admiral Adama, Kara Thrace, Laura Roslin, Baltar, Six, Saul and Ellen Tigh, Cavil and all the others became real people whose conflicted relationships compelled viewers to follow them to the end of their journey.  It’s what I always dream of achieving in my stories.

 

3.)    Keep raising the stakes.  Many writers are afraid to really put their characters to the test, to hurt them physically and psychologically.  The writers for BSG mercilessly tortured theirs—gave them cancer, took life and limb from some of them.  At every turn they, threw impediments of every sort between friends, foes and lovers.  So don’t be afraidto push your characters to the edge. Make them take risks. Challenge them with tough problems and decisions.  Viewers and readers want to see characters achieve their final goal, but not until they’ve suffered and grown because of their experiences along the way.

 

As I work on my fourth book, I’m trying to put these lessons into practice.  It’s not always easy, but in the end I hope it will make my story stronger and harder for the reader to put down.

 

Friday evenings won’t be quite as much fun as they used to be.  Don’t know about you, but I’m frakkin gonna miss this show.

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March 22, 2009 - Posted by | Writer's Life

8 Comments »

  1. It was a well written show. The writers consistently threw curveballs at the viewers. It will be missed.

    Comment by andyandvickie | March 23, 2009 | Reply

  2. Don’t watch television, but it sounds interesting. Those lessons could be applied to a lot of life.

    Comment by anny cook | March 23, 2009 | Reply

  3. hi Kathy,
    Great blog post! Keep ’em coming…
    😉

    Comment by pattie | March 23, 2009 | Reply

  4. I’ll miss my Friday night fix as well. The characters were one of that shows great strengths and they used those twists and turns to great effect. Now if only I can learn from them . . . Great blog.

    Comment by a.millham | March 23, 2009 | Reply

  5. wonderful advice, kathy! i’ll have to keep it in mind as i write.

    Comment by jan | March 23, 2009 | Reply

  6. Great blog, Kathy. I don’t know exactly what the attraction of BSG is, I never could get into it myself, despite being a life-long Sci Fi fan. But I know it’s real. My daughter and her husband met and clicked because of BSG, two geeks in a pod, coin a phrase. Hmm, maybe that’s a subject for my own blog, which I haven’t actually started yet, but your excellent example will spur me on.

    Excellent advice on writing, too. Turn it on it’s head, always surprise your characters and you’ll surprise the reader.

    Bart

    Comment by Bart P | March 23, 2009 | Reply

  7. Great writing tips. So, watching TV can’t be all bad then.

    Comment by Kathy Kulig | March 23, 2009 | Reply

  8. The ending broke my heart for so many reasons! I will miss the show and I’m not sure I’ll have it in me to watch the spin-offs. The characters on BSG were just too compelling. Nice blog, girl.

    Comment by Julia Barrett | March 26, 2009 | Reply


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