But I made myself a promise that I would only watch it while on the treadmill.
I think I've probably walked from Boston to Akron and back again and I'm only on Season 3.
It's that good.
Although I'm totally sucked into the story, I'm still aware of the writing.
I think about it a lot.
There are some noteworthy elements that can prove useful to any writer. (Note: I'm not going to cite examples lest I spoil the story for anyone who hasn't watched and wants to.)
1. The main character is likeable, even though he does terrible, immoral, and unlawful things. Despite his behavior, I still find myself rooting for Walter White. I care about him. I feel bad when he struggles.
Even poor Jesse is someone I care about. He's a total loser, but every time he finds himself in a mess (which is often), I feel sorry for him.
Readers want to like and care about the main characters, even when they are behaving badly (and sometimes, even more so when they are behaving badly).
2. There are coincidences - but they are believable. They don't feel forced for the sake of the plot.
3. There is a steady stream of seemingly impossible situations for the characters to get themselves out of. The viewer (reader) is always left wondering, "How on earth will they get themselves out of this predicament?"
4. There is a perfect balance of viewer (reader) emotion: fright, sentiment, tension, suspicion, worry. Just when you think you can't bear the tension any longer, there is relief in the form of a different emotion. So, now when I spend so much time watching Breaking Bad, I'm calling it studying.
Addendum: I've been told that by Season 4, I won't like Walter so much. Maybe I'll eventually have to scratch number 1.
They're thesauruses for writers - but not your usual word thesauruses.
This one is called THE EMOTION THESAURUS: A WRITER'S GUIDE TO CHARACTER EXPRESSION by Angela Ackerman and Becca Publisi.
It has 75 emotion entries, like depression, doubt, indifference, nervousness, and rage.
Then for each emotion, it lists body language, thoughts and visceral responses for each.
For instance, for nervousness, some of the physical signals are pacing, rapid blinking, rubbing the back of the neck, lack of eye contact, clearing the throat, and many more.
Then there are internal sensations associated with nervousness, like dry mouth, heart palpitations, or quivering muscles.
Next there are mental responses for the emotion, cues of acute feeling of that emotion, and cues of suppression of that emotion.
Then there is THE NEGATIVE TRAIT THESAURUS: A WRITER'S GUIDE TO CHARACTER FLAWS by the same authors.
According to the back cover, the book provides "a vast collection of flaws to explore when building a character's personality. Each entry includes possible causes, attitudes, behaviors, thoughts and related emotions.
Last, there is THE POSITIVE TRAIT THESAURUS: A WRITER'S GUIDE TO CHARACTER ATTRIBUTES (same authors).
Each entry of this one "lists possible causes for why a trait might emerge, along with associated attitudes, behaviors, thoughts and emotions.
Sometimes you're looking for just the right gesture or action or dialogue beat to show an emotion, flaw, etc. These books could come in handy.
Her writing is so much fun to read. She's all about WORDS. Glorious, creative words. And talk about good insults! I thought Elvis (The Small Adventure of Popeye and Elvis) was pretty good at insulting. I mean, bug-brained booger breath is pretty good, right? But Elvis can't hold a candle to Meggy Swann (The Alchemy and Meggy Swann). Exhibit A: wart-necked flap maggot penny pinching nip cheese milk-livered minnow
mewling flap-mouthed flax wench
Cease your bibble babble, you gleeking goat's bladder. And when she isn't busy insulting, Karen Cushman is tossing out words like: skimble skamble