What I Learned Watching The First Season of ’24’

I bought the first season of the TV Series, 24, and watched it this week. I mainly bought it for research purposes because I’m plotting a romantic suspense, action adventure series, and I’d heard such great things about 24 and knew it would be the perfect series to use as research.

So while watching 24 episodes, this is what I’ve learned:

1. If your federal agent hero is going to break the law–and I mean some serious federal laws–you’d better have a damn good way to get him out of trouble once you’ve gotten him into trouble, otherwise he’s looking at some serious jail time.

2. It’s great to have a good idea to start a storyline…but you’d better have enough of a storyline to carry you through 1 or 2 or 3 books or more. Which means more than hero and heroine fall in love, face danger and get out of it. There has to be something more. A lot more.

3. The good guys can’t all be good, and the bad guys can’t all be bad. Shades of gray…always shades of gray.

4. If you’re going to have a crack team of agents, having the bad guys kill off a bunch of them makes your crack team look inept. You’d better have a different way to move your plot along without killing off half your team and making your hero look stupid.

5. Surprise bad guys and surprise good guys rock. The element of surprise rocks. Never do what the viewer (or reader) thinks you’re going to do. Rock their world.

6. Think logically. Plan every avenue. If the bad guys escape in an easy fashion, your crack team of super agents once again look inept. This might mean doing something bad to good people to make it work. But make it work without making your team look stupid. (See #4)

7. Don’t recycle the same plot device over and over and over and over and over again. This irritates the viewer (or reader)

8. Visceral reactions rock, whether they’re good ones or bad ones. Viewers (or readers) love to love or hate a character or characters. Everyone in the story doesn’t have to be loved.

9. And jumping off from #8 is…imperfection. Make your characters flawed. Flawed characters are real characters. They’ll make mistakes. Sometimes huge mistakes. It’s how they rebound from those mistakes that will endear them to the viewer (or reader).

10. Guns, firepower, and lots of it. Blow shit up. Seriously. We are talking action here. :giggle:

Bonus – If you’re going to face off with the bad guy and you have a gun in your hand—for all that is holy, SHOOT HIM. Don’t wave the gun at him and talk to him. Don’t threaten him and tell him to back away. Shoot the sonofabitch over and over again until the freakin clip is empty. Otherwise he’s going to find a way to take the gun away from you and then one of two things is going to happen: 1) you’ll have the gun pointed at you, or 2) he’s going to shoot you. Then I’ll be forced to yell at the television and call you a dumbass. And really…you don’t want me to do that. :giggle:

Now, onto Season 2 of 24 and plotting this new series. Oh, and I’m still writing a novella. Lots to do around here.

And hey, if you have anything to add to the above, feel free.