Writing Distractions

So one of the things I did when I moved into my new digs was get digital cable. I got it obstensibly for the digital music. I don’t really care for paying all that extra cash for the premium channels, so never get them.

But the digital package, besides all the great music (great writing music) also has a bunch of channels I wouldn’t ordinarily watch. One of them is AZN TV also known as Asian Televison, or as their tagline states, “The Network for Asian America.”

(I feel sort of guilty watching this channel, which isn’t for me–in case you didn’t know, I’m not Asian American. But that’s a post for another day)

I am hooked on this network. I’ve been watching reruns of Record of Lodoss War, Project A-ko, and my latest addiction, Jewel in the Palace. Yes, it’s subtitled, but do I care? No, I’m all over Jang-geum and her life as a kitchen lady preparing meals for the King. Will her rival get her kicked out of the palace? Will she fall in love with the noble warrior who writes poetry? Can you really do that with whale meat?

To tie this back into writing, the reason that I’m watching the marathon diligently every weekend is because it has Universal Themes which come through no matter what the language or culture. Plucky heroine overcomes all manner of circumstances, rivals, and her own fears to achieve greatness, triumph over her enemies, and get the guy. (at least I hope so. Apparently I have like forty more episodes to go.)

Sounds like the core of most romance novels, right?

So if you’re a beginning writer or plan to start, think about the Universal Themes of your story. What shines through in your story no matter what language it’s published in? What would keep a reader (or a viewer) glue to their seat, absorbing every thought, every action? What is it about your story and your heroine that will allow me to identify with her?