You can blame cookiemonger for introducing me to BBC Radio, and here, I’d like to direct your attention to one program I listened to this morning, called Open Book (appears to update Thursdays and Sundays). The show runs 30 minutes and among the subjects covered today were writing books for both children and adults (and how it’s good for an author), stealing storytelling methods back from television, and the possibility of life after retirement (from writing).

I think the part that caught my attention most was the discussion of whether television can be successfully harvested for writing literature. There was talk of American “long-form” television series developing stories and characters in a manner similar to classic literature — you go through an awkward period in the beginning where relationships are developed, then get to “the good bits” and the audience is that much more invested because they’ve been there through the beginning.

(It wasn’t a perfect analogy, but it worked well enough for me.)

There was also a funny bit where they compared current television serials to the serialized works of Dickens, about how one might come into the story halfway through, or even the “Firefly Effect,” where some readers might wait I’ll wait to see if the stories keep going before committing to reading them. Some might not read the serialized version at all, instead waiting for the “boxed set.” (In other words, the novelization.)

In the end, of course, the discussion favored books for the more intimate delivery of storytelling, whereas television is for more passive in terms of storytelling delivery methods. I appreciated how even-handed everyone was with television (all of them being novelists and/or book enthusiasts), and felt very validated in what I do as a writer, which happens to be a form of serialized storytelling.

(Now go have a listen!)