Guest posts

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Fearless writing...

I began watching Breaking Bad as a means of spending some time with one of my teen age sons. I wasn't trying for quality time - no point in going for that at his age - just any time at all will do for now. If I want to be in the same room with him it's either do some gaming - which will never happen in this lifetime  - or watch television. To be clear, Breaking Bad isn't my type of show - I don't mind the violence but I'm not interested in the drug trade or personal corruption; but, I was hooked on the first episode and I have continued to be a dedicated viewer even when my son isn't around.

So, during commercials there is no hope of meaningful conversation with my son who is still at a stage where he only has two responses to me - he either grunts something that is meant to convey an entire conversation or he totally ignores me - that leaves me with no choice but to think. And, I think often about why I'm so into this show. Sure, it's great acting and incredible writing but there are lots of shows - okay, not lots - but other shows with those factors, such that Throne show and the Tudors, and I couldn't stick with them even though I was more inclined toward their themes and eras.

I think that part of what intrigues me with Breaking Bad is that the writers are totally fearless. I don't know where they will go next. Nothing is sacred and nothing is absolute. The wife of the main character has lost her moral compass this last season and is now as skilled at corruption as her morally bereft ex husband (who, by the way, is sinking deeper and deeper into his own previously untapped sociopathic behaviors).

And I believe that's it for me - I see in the writing a boldness that is hesitant in me. I have certainly written some graphic violence in my fiction - I've got a short story about rape, and there are scenes of graphic violence in Cleah; and, Good Enough is about a topic (teen porn) that most don't venture into when writing for the YA audience - so I'm not doing a pretty little linguistic dance around my topics - but I know I haven't explored the outer realms of where my characters can go nor have I broken my own internal boundaries in what I've written ... so far.

Well, I'm halfway through the sequel to The Lost Fury Chronicles, so I've got some genuine opportunities to push my own envelope. Can I do it? What do you think?


  1. I'm also a fan of Breaking Bad (getting caught up on last season through Netflix so I can watch the current one I'm DVR-ing). You are right on when you say it's fearless. The only show I can compare it to is Dexter. Both are difficult to watch because they are so raw. Both protags are not good people but somehow, amazingly, you see the nuance and root for them.

    I have zero knowledge of anything to do with drugs, so part of the fascination with BB is just how dark and messed up the life of junkies is, and the effects it has on families. Pretty much every actor down to the teen son and the uncle who's a cop are top notch.

    Another great show I'd recommend is Justified on FX. You can get season 1 on DVD now. The writing is excellent and it's up for a few deserved Emmy's.

  2. I'll have to check out Justified. I need to learn more about this type of main character. I guess I just need to learn more....

  3. Yeah my son loves Breaking Bad as well. Since I have 3 sons & two are in their teen years, I totally relate to your story about wanting to at least be in the same room with them.
    You're a great mom.


  4. Brenda, just stopping by during the Blogger's Ball. Enjoyed surfing around your site...very now following you...Nancy

  5. What an excellent insight! I don't watch the show (we actually don't have TV) but as soon as you started writing, your words clicked for me. I too find some of the most heart-dropping, important books to be ones where the writer did something utterly rule-breaking, utterly unexpected. I think of Margaret Mitchell when Bonnie Blue died. And some of Andrew Klavan's situations. Or Stephen King letting Gage meet his fate in PET SEMETARY. Just reading this post makes me feel inspired about my next novel--thanks for thinking so deeply about why you love this show!

    And I hope your son hits the when-I-was-21-it-amazed-me-how-much-the-old-(wo)man-had-learned-in-4-years stage soon :) Mine is 5 and still all, I wuv you, in the mornings...