UPDATE (2018): The Netflix taste preferences feature is no longer available, but you can still benefit from the information below as a DIY tool.
Netflix can be a great tool for a writer. True story. By that I don’t refer to the countless hours spent “researching” films and TV shows when you should be writing. That’s an ancillary benefit. And I’m not one to judge because I, too, “research” more than I should.
The best part of Netflix for a writer are your genre preferences (a.k.a. the data you provide that feeds their suggestion algorithm). The more info you submit, the more accurate recommendations Netflix makes according to your tastes.
Likewise, the more you specify, the more you reveal to yourself about your own story preferences.
Follow your interests
One of the primary components to writing is knowing what to write. Sci-fi fans are better at writing science fiction than, let’s say, romance; literary authors aren’t necessarily the best thriller writers; and so on.
Check it out. From the main navigator bar on the home page:
- Click on the “Suggestions For You Tab”
- Select “Taste Preferences”
- Select the “Genre” category
There’s even a sub-genre option, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. You’ll then find a page that looks like this:
Everything from animation to drama to to horror to musicals are listed. You choose how often you watch those particular films: never, sometimes, or often. So, here’s the cool part: Of the 14 available choices, I only chose four that merit often viewing (i.e. action & adventure, comedies, drama, and thrillers).
If these are the types of stories I enjoy most, shouldn’t I be writing in one or a combination of these modes? Oddly enough, I do.
Confirm you’re on the right track
First, let’s acknowledge that comedy is the outlier amongst the four. While I weave a nice amount of humor throughout most of my work—it acts as a wonderful way to release tension—I don’t consider myself a comedy writer. That now permits the remaining three story types to stew together in my own personal hybrid genre.
The book I’m currently writing is probably best categorized as suspense—a sub-genre of thriller–with plenty of drama and a double dose of action. And violà. Netflix has accurately revealed what type of storytelling most interests me.
Thank goodness I’ve chosen the correct project. Otherwise I’d be wasting a lot of time crafting a book that doesn’t interest me as much as it should.