What’s MOM got to do with Your Script?

Castle_wikipediaI’ve been watching Castle on Netflix. Nathon Fillion plays Richard Castle, a successful, well-known author of romantic crime who-done-it’s. He has landed a sweet deal through the mayor (all those guys know each other) to work with New York’s best homicide detective, Kate Beckett, played by the ravishing Stana Katic. Kate is not just beautiful but  also happens to be intelligent, capable, independent, stubborn and feisty. Yep, you guessed it; she becomes his muse.

Every once in a while the dialogue focuses on the art of writing. Rick will drop the occasional “That’s what writer’s call the inciting incident”, or when speaking to his daughter, Alexis (played by the very talented Molly Quinn), “Remember, I was the one who taught you sub-text, young lady.”

Writer’s will realize that Rick Castle need not bring up all the tricks utilized by novelists, like the first rule ‘Show, don’t tell’, because they don’t help solve murders. However, using some writer’s rules can be helpful in sorting out a crime puzzle.

GMC, the second rule, for example. No, not General Motors Corporation ; ) - goal, motivation, and conflict. It’s not enough that a suspect has motivation. They also need a way to get at the victim. Castle often brings up motivation, means and opportunity as a way to figure out who might be the most likely suspect.

Motive, means, and opportunity; I like to rearrange the terms to motive, opportunity, and means, then think of it as M.O.M. This doesn’t necessarily take the place of GMC, because without conflict there is no reason for the story, but they hold hands.

old truck_US National Oceanic and Atmosphereic Acministration_theb1921I bet two can play this game; What if I be Castle and use show-don’t-tell to help work a crime investigation. Let’s see… mom is chewing on a bit of hay sitting behind the wheel of a beater 1948 GMC pick-up truck, her tanned arm resting in the open window, mischief in her eye. A blood stained blanket covers a lump in the back of her truck.

If it works for Castle, and it can work for you.

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PHOTO CREDITS: Castle = Wikipedia, black & white truck = US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration


  1. A spot-on post, Niki. MOM indeed, lol!

  2. Thanks, Christine! I wonder what advice Rick will come up with for Castle's fifth season...