Sunday, April 21, 2013

Broadchurch: what it can teach us about writing

I don't know how many of you have seen this programme, but Broadchurch is a British made television show. The story is about a young boy named Danny Latimer, who has been found dead on the local beach in Broadchurch. Two detectives, Ellie Miller and Alec Hardy (Alec is played by the wonderful David Tennant) spend the series trying to find who the killer is.

I have no idea what other countries think about this show, but the whole of Britain are absolutely hooked on it. This is mostly because of the storyline, but the fact that it is the last episode in the series tomorrow and we still have no clue who killed Danny is the best part. The writing for this show is legendary and it can teach us a lot about how we should be writing too.

  • Individual Character stories are key in the audience understanding the history of the character and why  a character has done what they did. Broadchurch has been written so that each character we see in the series pretty much had their own episode, describing who they really are and what has gone on in their past to end up living in Broadchurch and so on. However, it still manages to create an episode in which the history of the character does not take up the full hour, even though it is central to the story. This is what needs to happen within our stories. We need to include bits and pieces about our character's life stories, without it distracting us or the audience from the main plot.
  • Suspense. Always keep the readers guessing. You don't want to spoon feed information either, because your readers are a lot more clever than we sometimes give them credit for. Give them the basics, and they can read between the lines. It is always tempting to reveal more and try to analyse every bit of the book for the reader, but this isn't what they want. 
  • Flashbacks - we take them for granted sometimes but they are key in developing our characters and building the texture of our story! I'm not saying that the whole book has to be set in the past, but a few flashbacks that haunt your main character or say what the characters fail to is key.

If you haven't watched Broadchurch yet, then I highly recommend you do. If you can't get it in your country, the internet is always there to lend a helping hand. It is a fantastic script and one that we can all learn from.

If you decide to watch it, please tell me what you thought in the comments!

The Book Critic x

P.S: a few more snapshots of the programme


  1. ...sounds like an interesting show.
    Excellent points to consider when penning one's next project ;)


  2. I'm not a fan of British television, but I'll give this a shot!

  3. I adore David Tennant, but i hadn't heard of this show. Great points!