Q. Does someone who traditionally writes in novella format have any place in television writing? I’ve learned a lot about the differences, and I’m eager to see if my own style of writing can be adapted to the far more fast-paced scripting I am learning. Since you’ve written both for television and your own books, what are the biggest speed bumps you encountered, transitioning from one format to another?
There's no hard and fast answer. If you're a writer, you're a writer, and you can adapt your muse to different media. But certainly each medium has its strengths and weaknesses, and so do writers. If your gift is to delve into the deep thoughts of a character -- well, that's something TV is very poor at. Actors convey feelings well, but not thoughts. TV is very good at showing the dynamics of a family (whether kin or a family of choice) and characters making emotional choices.
TV has demands novella writing doesn't. You can polish and rework your spec pilot for a year, but spec episodes get out of date fast, and if you should be hired, you better be able to bang out a sixty page script in a week. A couple of times I've had to write a script in a day. That's not pretty, but you can't be precious. If the production meeting is Tuesday morning, the script better be there Tuesday morning.
Speed bumps? There's a learning curve to any medium, and in TV, there is a whole industry to break into. If you work hard and thoughtfully, and if you like writing what people like seeing on TV, and if people like you, you'll probably get in. The key, as in any new field, is listening -- to what's said, and to what's not said -- and carefully applying it to your work and your processes.