Posted by: Matt Q. McGovern | March 19, 2019

binge-watching habits of writers

Back in the day, this would have been called TV watching and for many still is. Nowadays, most of our viewing content is available on demand and as such allows for our habits to develop trends towards anything our heart desires, including binge-watching whole seasons of series in short periods of time. Each service offering up our content is quick to suggest and serve up what else we’d like to watch next.

I’m wondering what these choices are for writers, and it’s effect on writing if any.

Since my television’s main input is a computer and has been for many years, most of my viewing comes through a standard web browser. My main “channels” are youtube, amazon, netflix, and occasionally the web pages for the channels of my cable service – if I happen to currently have a subscription to one.

Several months ago I caught up with my favorite shows: Blacklist, Criminal Minds, Elementary. So, needing something to binge watch, I’ve watched entire series of shows/documentaries relating to FBI files, forensics, CIA, true crime, serial killer, and mafia investigations. I noticed that this started with the FBI and after I ran out of available shows to watch, I started looking for the subject of the investigations themselves. The most popular FBI investigations over the last century are serial killer, mafia, and things of that nature of which there are plenty of documentaries.

The serial killer documentaries grew morbid after a while, as I was more interested in how the FBI caught them as opposed to seeing more about the killer. There’s a funny meme that’s gone around social media saying something to the effect of “I’m a writer not a serial killer” when remarking on the contents of one’s browser history.

My current work in progress involves the world we live in today but featuring some paranormal fantasy. The investigative division in my book is right out of Criminal Minds at a much younger age – with a paranormal element. I think I could say the same of everything I’ve been watching. I can see the mafia, serial killer, regular police work, etc. – with a paranormal element.

This isn’t to say that I’m trying to write all that, just that my mind can easily drift there. The subjects upon which the investigative divisions direct their focus are all secret societies in some way or other, whether centered around a single individual or a group. It’s easy to add a paranormal element to it.

I always liked the paranormal and some horror/dark fantasy entities like vampires, witches, etc. This features in my writing and is influenced by my separate interest in investigation, police forces both local and federal, secret societies that may or may not be involved with organized crime, etc.

Thought for the day, how is your writing shaped by your television/binge-watching/browsing habits, or is it the other way around?


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