Why My RBPD Series is NOT like a Soap Opera

There have been a couple of reviewers who have called my Rocky Bluff P.D. crime series a Police Procedural Soap Opera. And in some ways, I suppose they are right.

The series has a regular case of characters whose lives continue you on in the next book. In one book, one character may be the most important, and in another it could be someone else. I certainly follow the lives of the different police officers and their families and friends. In some cases what is happening in their private lives is more important than what is happening on the job.
Thanks goodness that's where the comparison ends.

I follow the soap opera, General Hospital--mainly because it's after lunch and a good time for me to rest. I must confess, that often I sleep through most of it.

One of the things that happens on this show is that the characters change. Often it's because the actor playing a character wants to try something new. The character will be killed off by the writers or in some cases, a new actor will step-in.  Sometimes the actor is offered a better job--or at least he or she thinks it is better.

One of my favorite shows, Downton Abbey, has similar problems. Actors playing fan's favorite characters get offered a job in another show or movie and want out. What happens, the character dies, making the fans very unhappy.

One thing I can assure everyone who reads my Rocky Bluff P.D. series is that none of my characters are going to leave for a better job. At least not yet, but if one does it'll be because I wanted him or her to leave. I've had a character I really loved retire in Bad Tidings. In the book I'm writing now, the former police chief has also retried.
Never will a new person step in to take the place of one of the characters--I'll try to keep everyone's description and character the same--and the characters will grow older naturally. Though I write only one RBPD a year, less than a year passes by between one book and the next.

 Never will I have someone be shot directly in the heart and live. That's happened at least three times on General Hospital. Nor will I have someone return from the dead--another miracle that happens too often on the soap.

Be warned, I might kill off a main character sometime. I don't have anything like that planned, but you never know, it all depends upon what directions this bunch takes me next. I did kill of a wonderful guy in Final Respects  the very first one in the series. It opened the door for another character to change and grow.

That is why my RBPD series is NOT like a soap opera.

Marilyn aka F. M. Meredith


Patricia Gligor said…
Great idea for a post!
I've never cared for soap operas; my TV doesn't even go on during the day but I love your Rocky Bluff PD series. One of the reasons is that, unlike soap operas, your series is realistic. I've come to care about the characters and I'm always eager to find out what will happen to them next.
Lorna Collins - said…
The ongoing characters are why I love this series. HOWEVER, you avoid the melodrama of the soaps. not an accurate comparison, IMHO.
M.M. Gornell said…
Funny thought, Marilyn, that a character could quit for a better job! Brought a big smile to my face. I guess in the case of a book character, they'd quite because they got a job in a better book? Ha, ha, ha...

I don't watch soaps, I just know I love your series...

Evelyn Cullet said…
I think that every series, whether it's a television series or a novel series, has an element of "soap opera" to it. Readers feel comfortable with familiar characters, (we all have our favorites) and so we're interested in what happens to them. Personally, I love reading novels that are part of a series like yours.
I strive to make my book realistic, Patricia, but I don't write much about gangs, domestic violence, meth labs, all the things that do happen in a policeman's job.

Thanks, Lorna. I have touched on melodrama in a couple of books--but it worked for the plot.

You know, I do think of my characters as real, Madeline, but leaving for a job in a better book--well?

I think a lot of the nightime shows are soap operas just on at a later time.
Anonymous said…
One of my favorite television shows (that possibly could compare to a soap opera) that has the same characters all of the time is the Jessie Stone movies with Tom Selleck (drool) in the leading role. Tom Selleck has been writing the screen plays for this series all along, simply basing them on the late Robert B. Parker's books. So, if someone compares your books to a television show, Marilyn, take it as a compliment. I love your RBPD books, personally, and you are in good company with writers such as Robert B. Parker and even Tom Selleck.
Jackie, I love anything with Tom Selleck in it too, though the last Jessie Stone movie I saw I thought was a bit on the slow side.

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