Josie! Teach me your ways on how to write the good drama for something I may be plotting. I need help from the Queen of Drama (tm)
Awww thank you so much! I like my new title, Queen of Drama! From now on, I want EVERYONE to call me that, my kids and boyfriend included! Oh wait, my boyfriend already calls me a drama queen, is that the same thing? LOL
Anyway, here are my tips for my style of soap opera drama:
1. Select over the top, dramatic plots. Soap opera style drama almost always involve love triangles, adult/teenage/sibling/family tensions, adultery, emotional breakdowns, unwanted and /or thwarted pregnancies, bigamy, adoptions, divorce, religious conversions, cults, theft, crime rings, unexpected calamities like car crashes and house fires, kidnappings, amnesia, bar brawls and mysterious disappearances. Don’t be afraid to write about stuff that is kind of twisted ( like adultery) or stuff that rarely happens (amnesia)! It’s DRAMA, embrace it and don’t feel embarrassed to write it, no matter how absurd lol.
2. But make the drama believable. I’ve had plots where my characters are in bizarre situations ( committing murder through a coin toss, discovering a long lost sister through a rare blood type, a psychopath masquerading as a nurse) but I try and make these situations seem as common as walking your dog or making casserole for dinner. I’ve never had a reader tell me, “Josie, that is so unbelievable!” Because I do my best to make these crazy scenarios seem like everyday occurrences. I do this by blending normal scenes with the bizarre. For example when one of my characters was shoved down the marble mansion stairs by a murderer, the previous scene was a normal one of her hanging out with friends!
3. Make your characters believable. Give them a motivation, give them a backstory. Ask yourself, “What does this character want and what is he or she doing in this scene to get it?” When you make your characters feel real, then the situations they face feel real. Give them accents, a particular fashion sense, a catch phrase or even a fetish…something that fleshes them out. You can choose your heroes and your villains, but try not to make them cookie cutter…make readers relate to them, maybe even grow to love them, or love to hate them lol.
4. Side characters and side plots are key! Most dramas have secondary story lines going on and a lot of them are intertwined and connected. Choose your main characters but also select side characters with their own events and stories to keep readers engaged. I tend to transition between characters by ending a set of character stories on a “cliff hanger” and then moving on to other characters. Drama readers LOVE that, it’s called a “hook” in television writing, it keeps viewers and readers coming back for more.
5. Choose vivid settings. Mansions, rundown neighborhoods, quiet little beach islands, glamorous penthouses, pawn shops… my characters all reside in very vivid settings because that draw readers in. Create a town with a mysterious secret, a bar where your characters hang out…create a time and space that readers will recognize and bond with.
Last, watch daytime soap operas, K dramas, telenovelas and shows like Jane the Virgin, the OC, One Tree Hill, Desperate Housewives, Riverdale, 90210 and Gossip Girl for inspiration! Hope this helps!