Friday, July 13, 2012

What I Learned from Filipino Soaps

I recently spent some time at my in-laws' house and got to watch a few of the soaps on TFC (The Filipino Channel) with my mother-in-law paraphrasing them for me. One of the main differences between American and Filipino soaps is that after about six months the Filipino soap will end and a new story begins. And let me tell you, they have some crazy stories unfolding on TFC!
  1. In this story a 10-year-old boy has just woken up from 30 years in a cryonic sleep. He wakes up to find his fortune, along with almost everyone he loves gone. He tracks down his playmate (a girl he had a mock wedding with) who is now a single mother and tries to court her, but of course he is still a child and she is in her late thirties! When I left the boy was back in the hospital as they were not sure he was completely cured of a rare disease, which was the initial reason for the cryonic sleep.
  2. A woman holds her adult daughter hostage and threatens to throw her off the top of a building. But the daughter is actually her sister's biological daughter. Years before the two sisters had babies at the same time and when the woman kills someone her sister is blamed and goes to jail. The woman takes care of both babies but there is an accident and her own baby dies. She tells her sister that the sister's baby died and then keeps her sister's baby to raise as her own. There are more crazy things going on in this one that I just couldn't keep straight.
As I am typing this I realize that I have no comparison on the crazy part because I have never watched American soaps. So maybe ours are even crazier! But I was also thinking that my mother-in-law L.O.V.E.S. these shows so maybe a little crazy thrown in my own stories wouldn't be such a bad thing. I think the key in writing realistic fiction is to find a balance where there are some fantastical elements (to keep the story interesting and dramatic) but not so much that they push it over to fantasy.

What do you think? If you write realistic fiction, how do you keep the story crazy interesting while maintaining believability. How do you keep it real?

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