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Turning Your Netflix Addiction into Research For Your Writing

Are you, like many others, addicted to Netflix? Do you spend hours and hours watching shows and documentaries, unaware of the time passing by? Once you start a show, that’s it — nothing exists until you’re done with it. We’ve all been there, we’ve all done that — and we’ve all missed our deadlines.

If it seems impossible to come out of this addiction (after all, there are some really interesting stuff to watch), and it’s seriously impacting your ability to create useful content by consuming all your free time, it might be time for you to consider some alternatives people don’t often talk about. Instead of forcing yourself to unsubscribe from Netflix, you can actually figure out ways to use it for your writing!

Of course, you can also binge-watch your favourite show and then call it “research”, just to make yourself feel better. But did you know that you can actually use it for research?

Here are some ways you can channel that Netflix addiction to research effectively for your book, or your article, or your blog post!

1. Pay Attention to How Characters Act

When you watch a show, take note of how the characters act in different situations. What are their facial expressions? How do they react physically? 

And these responses might vary from character to character, depending on their personalities. An easily excitable person is more likely to succumb to hysteria in a tense situation than someone who is usually calm and composed — but, then again, a calm person might lose their cool when tested. It’s important to take note of what responses feel more genuine and more relatable; what responses feel more in character. If your story has a character similar to the one you’re analysing on a Netflix show, you can easily figure out what would work, and what wouldn’t.

2. How is the Suspense Created?

When you go back to one of your favourite shows, you notice the tiny details — how a certain character acts during a particular scene, indicating how they were not really innocent; how a “minor” character is introduced but ends up playing a major role in the final moments; how memories are revealed only partially and are built up to create suspense, and so on. 

A seemingly insignificant flashback can lead to a groundbreaking revelation.

These details are often overlooked by most viewers’, but if you’re a lover of the show and you go back to your favourite episodes — or even discuss with friends and family or Reddit communities — then they can change the way you craft your own story.

3. Write Down Notable Dialogues

The best dialogues often end up in wallpapers, because they’re the ones people relate to the most. When you come across something a character says that makes an impression on you, write it down. While you shouldn’t plagiarize (obviously!), you can still use these dialogues and quotes as inspiration to create something of your own.

4. Watch Documentaries for Factual Research

Reading through lengthy Wikipedia articles and gigantic history books can be a menial task. It’s bad enough that you have to sit and actually put your story into words, but it’s worse when you need to to put hours into research and background reading. 

You can make this otherwise boring task somewhat interesting by watching related documentaries on Netflix. Netflix has a range of historical documentaries narrated in the most exciting ways for you to integrate to your writing!

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Sharika Hafeez

Sharika Hafeez is a nerd, and she’s proud of it. Growing up, she fell in love with books and writing, and is currently following her undergraduate degree (for some mysterious reasons) in Physics. She likes procrastinating by watching the stars with a steaming cup of tea, composing poetry in her head.

October 7, 2022

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