Learning Craft from Midsomer Murders Part 1

91OBn9fCodL__SL1500_If you want to learn how to write from watching film then consider learning or improving on your craft through Midsomer Murders. Although I currently write romantic regencies with mystery/suspense elements I someday want to try my hand at a murder mystery. I’ve found a great film source to learn from and that’s Midsomer Murders. This is British televison detective drama that makes it difficult to stop watching for the pure enjoyment of the show.

Here’s some interesting aspects and pictures of Not In My Backyard.

Any of you who watch the series will immediately recognize Detective Chief Inspector Tom Barnaby (John Nettles) and Sgt Gavin Troy (Daniel Casey)  in the picture above. When Sgt. Gavin leaves the show and Sgt. Ben Jones shows up as his replacement I wondered if Jones played by Jason Hughes would work in the series as well since I’d grown used to Sgt. Troy. The writers and actors made it work.

The Power of Character

Not being able to put down a book is similar to not being able to stop watching a great show on televison. It’s those characters that keep me coming back. I want to know what they are doing and what’s going to happen next in their lives. Think about those books you look forward to reading every time you have an oppotunity. What is it that draws you in and keeps you coming back for more?

A favorite quote from Mark Twain states, ““The people in the story (characters) shall be alive, except in the case of the corpses, and the reader should be able to tell the corpses from the others.” This says it all. Your characters better not be mistaken for corpses unless they are truly dead.

Here’s three short thoughts about what you want to see in a character you are developing.

  • Characters remain true to their identity.
  • Characters have flaws.
  • Characters are intriguing and have good reasons for doing what they do.

DCI Barnaby would never stay seated for a meal at home if a thought occurs to him about a case he is working. Nor does he show up on time for dinners out with his wife and daughter if he’s following up on a clue, even if he’s said he will be there. He can’t resist, it’s not in his nature. You could say this is also a character flaw. He has a good reason for doing what he’s doing as well to the consternation of many in his sphere, especially the wrong doers.

A conversation with Caroline Graham

Caroline Graham is the author that inspired this series through her novels about Detective Chief Inspector Tom Barnaby. And here you will find an interesting interview with Caroline Graham. http://midsomermurders.org/cgrahaminconversation.htm


Do you have a favorite character? What’s so special about him or her?

More on growing your craft through film next time. Until then, keep writing, watching, and reading.



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