Guest Author - Lisa Shea
There are a myriad of ways to integrate soap operas into your writing efforts. Here are a few ideas to liven up your characters and plot lines!
You can of course have the stereotypical stay-at-home wife who lounges on her couch all afternoon long, a carton of ice cream in her lap, her eyes glued to the evolving storylines of her favorite soaps. Maybe dinner burns while she's watching a fire scene. Perhaps she ignores the ringing phone, missing an important call. She is completely oblivious to the real world.
You could go a step further, where she begins to mingle the imaginary world on her screen with the real world around her. Studies show that people who relate too strongly to TV couples tend to see their own real life relationships as less exciting and vibrant. Their real life situations are never quite "scripted" as well. Could that play into how her path in life unfurls?
On the other hand, why not shake things up a bit! Usually readers assume it's the female character who is glued to the latest happenings of the soap opera story. Maybe have a soap opera playing in the other room for a scene, and then reveal it's the guy who wants to get back to the story. In the House TV show, it was the male doctor, Gregory House, who was addicted to a soap.
Also, rather than having the stereotypical watching character, turn things around. Maybe it's a high powered executive who has meetings booked all day long - and one of those meetings is really a fake one, so she can curl up in a storage closet with her smart phone to get her fix. She turns down important calls and deals in order to be there.
You can have the watching of soap operas be a force of good. Have a character with prejudice learn to be more accepting by watching a soap opera. Have someone who is stressed and ill able to relax and heal due to losing herself in another world.
You could also show how soap operas draw generations together. Grandmothers can watch with granddaughters and explain the long, complex storylines, which then relates to how their own worlds are growing and changing.
Come on by the forums to get ideas and suggestions on how to weave soap operas into your writing projects!