ORGANIZING MY THOUGHTS - Complications Ensue
Complications Ensue:
The Crafty TV and Screenwriting Blog

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Thursday, January 27, 2005

Lisa reordered and edited down my way-too-long outline for Crafty TV Writing, but I wasn't sure it's in the best order, so I spent much of the day reorganizing.

It's hard to figure out exactly what concepts come first in TV Writing. In Crafty Screenwriting it was easy -- hook, story, characters, dialog -- because writing a screenplay for a movie is just about imagining a movie in your head and putting it down on the page. A TV episode comes from a TV show that has a life of its own, and you could be writing it for different reasons: writing a spec, working on staff, or creating your own show.

Right now the basics are:

Intro - Why is TV writing different from movie writing? Writers work on staff. Writers have more power. Writers work together.

Chapter 1 - what makes a great TV show. The hook. The attractive fantasy. Consistent, compelling story telling, with emphasis on "consistent."

Chapter 2 - the scripts. Springboards and ways to generate them. Challenging your core characters. Breakdowns. The heightened importance of act structure. "We make our money on teasers, tags and outs."

Chapter 3 - script problems and how to fix them or get away with them. Go to's. Shoe leather. Suspension of disbelief. Pulling vs. pushing. The Rules of One and Three. What can happen offscreen.

Chapter 4 - Bringing the Funny.

Chapter 5 - Making yourself into a TV writer. How to watch TV. Writing your spec scripts.

Chapter 6 - Working up the food chain as a story editor. Running your own writing room.

Chapter 7 - Creating and selling your own show. Who can do this. What a great pitch bible looks like.

I'd be interested in hearing what readers of this blog would want to read in a book about TV writing. What questions do you guys have?


You have a wonderfully entertaining blog, as clever as your book--which I think is fabulous and passed on to my writing professor here at Oregon State University. He loved it as well. Anyway, in a Crafty TV book, I would love to see a detailed section on spec scripts. How long do they last? Do they have to follow the current story of the show, seeing as things change so fast? What kinds of specs succeed? For many budding writers, I think the spec is a daunting obstacle.


By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:41 PM  

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