TV Drama Series: several essential skills to make the work sing on the page:

TV WRITING TIPS & TRICKS: Television Drama Series – What Makes the Good Ones Tick

for writers:

i. Structural ability:

ii. Ability with Character:

iii. Able to work the Subtext:

For producers:

i. The ability to understand and ‘work’ a script: 

ii. The talent to manage talent:

iii. The skill to see ‘the big picture’: 

Harmony is achieved. And that way, great series television is born.

 

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What I love about writing from an outline imported directly into my software is never having a blank page to taunt me.

Balls of Steel: Challenge Yourself to Change

Top 10 Lessons I Learned:

10. Writing sprints are gold. If you make a call out on Twitter with the hashtag #writingsprint, others will join you for a 30 or 60-minute sprint to the finish, writing as much as possible. Remember in NaNo, word count is the goal. I was amazed how productive I was. So much so, I continue to do writing sprints to this day.

9. “Write or Die” isn’t just a great bumper sticker.

8. Support matters. Having an online community during any writing challenge is essential. When you’re pushing yourself, having cheerleaders gives you the stamina to stay in the race.

7. Your characters are defined by the choices they make under pressure … and so are you.

6. Screenwriting isn’t novel writing … but that’s a good thing.

5. Novel writing isn’t screenwriting.

4. Writing is therapy. The beauty of novel writing is you can crawl in a character’s head and actually write what they are feeling inside. I felt like Sigmund Freud, psychoanalyzing my characters. The exercise was great for character research and helped me get to know my characters quickly.

3. There’s value in vomit. When I write a script, I edit each scene before I move on to the next. But with the NaNo deadline looming, I pushed forward, not stalling the creative process. The plot turned in ways I hadn’t expected.

2. I am capable of far more than I thought.

And the number one lesson learned by challenging myself … drumroll

1. I. Was. Wrong.

By my letting go of control, my characters did indeed decide their own fate, and both their internal struggles and external conflicts changed, too. Dare I say, the story was better for it.

PRODUCER’S POV: Writing a TV Series (Without Whining)

TV WRITING TIPS: Breaking Down the Television Series Treatment

IDEAS AND TECHNIQUES FOR WORKING ON YOUR STORY

Use your notebook to build ideas for your character.

Build a profile or outline for your main character using some of the suggested headings.

Consider all the influences that go into the making of your character: age, gender, race, nationality, marital status, religion, profession.

Get to know about your character’s inner life: what they want, think, remember, resent, fear, dream, deny.

Get to know about your character’s behaviour, what they wear, buy, eat, say, work at and play at.

Get to know how your character speaks and how this changes according to context, mood and intention.

See and describe your character vividly, how they look, how they move, their possessions and surroundings.

Focus on your character’s contradictions and conflicts in order to create a complex person and also to generate plot.

Remember the main methods of character presentation: summary, appearance, habit, scene, self-portrait and combinations of these methods.

  1. STARTING TO WRITE YOUR STORY
    LAYOUT

WEEK 6: DEVELOPING AND PORTRAYING CHARACTERS

  1. A page with the word 'Developing' written down.

    Revealing characters

    There are different approaches to both developing and portraying your characters. By trying these various methods, you the writer can discover more about them.

    1. NEXT STEPS IN CHARACTERISATIONS
    VIDEO (00:55)
    TALKING ABOUT CHARACTERS
    BUILDING A NEW CHARACTER

    Learning as much as you can about your characters is important, even if all that you learn doesn’t make it into the eventual story.

    REVEALING CHARACTERS
    GETTING TO KNOW YOUR CHARACTERS
    1. A page with the word 'Portrayal' written down.

      Portraying characters

      Analysing and discussing Scott Fitzgerald’s’ portrayal of character, you will come to further develop a character of your own. You’ll also experiment with different ways of portraying character to work out what works best for you.

    2. ‘THREE HOURS BETWEEN PLANES’
      CAN’T STOP TALKING ABOUT CHARACTERS
      RETURNING TO YOUR CHARACTER
      PORTRAYING YOUR CHARACTER
      SELF-PORTRAIT
    3. A page with the word 'Plan' written down.

      Writing a first draft

      Start to plan your short story, based on a central character. Remember the techniques and methods you have learned so far and put these into practice as you write.

      PLANNING YOUR STORY

WEEK 5: CREATING CONVINCING CHARACTERS

Character and conflict

‘Character is plot, plot is character’ – you will now consider how welding conflict to your characters will help you to develop a great plot.

https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/start-writing-fiction/5/todo/3458

  • How important is change to characterisation?
  • Do all characters need to change in stories?
  • What does Novakovich say about character flaws?

https://ugc.futurelearn.com/uploads/files/c9/7b/c97b66ed-8b82-455f-9cae-acf42a19a9fb/ou_futurelearn_fiction_dwnld_1153.pdf

Character and plot

The dictum that ‘character is plot, plot is character’, attributed, by Novakovich, to F. Scott Fitzgerald, is a familiar one, similar to Shakespeare’s ‘Character is destiny’ (from King Lear).

Character + conflict = plot

Apply this formula when building stories. See if it works for you.

  1. Stereotypes can be helpful when we start thinking about creating characters. Developing characters, giving them unexpected contradictions and conflicts, helps to create characters that are living people, not just caricatures.

    ROUND AND FLAT CHARACTERS
    ENRICHING STEREOTYPES
    TALKING MORE THAN TYPES
    CHALLENGING EXPECTATION
    CONSIDERING CHARACTERS
     
  2. A page with the word 'Exploring' written down.

    Sources of character

    Exploring various sources for new fictional characters – where do they come from and how are they developed?

    USING YOURSELF
    FINDING AND DEVELOPING FICTIONAL CHARACTERS
    FOUR WAYS TO CREATE CHARACTERS
    CHARACTER SKETCH
    INTRODUCING AND MEETING CHARACTERS
    READ THE FEEDBACK

    REFLECTION

    REFLECT ON FEEDBACK

WEEK 4: BUILDING YOUR STORY

  1. Developing the detail of your character will help you arrive at your story. And discovering causality – what causes your character to do things or to be the way they are – will give you plot. But how do you develop that plot?

    Keeping a writer’s notebook

    What have you written in your writer’s notebook so far? Find out how other writers use theirs and how you can develop a ‘notebook habit’.

    1. 4.1
      HOW YOU MIGHT USE YOUR NOTEBOOK

      VIDEO (01:00)

    2. 4.2
      WHY TAKE NOTES AND WHAT TO NOTE

      ARTICLE

    3. 4.3
      RESEARCH

      ARTICLE

    4. 4.4
      DIFFERENT APPROACHES TO RESEARCH

      DISCUSSION

    5. 4.5
      THE NOTEBOOK HABIT

      ARTICLE

  2. A page with the word 'Plot' written down.

    Character and plot

    A plot is not simply a story. It’s a succession of events with causality highlighted. Making use of the handy question ‘What if?’, you will now be developing your own plots.

    1. 4.6
      WHAT IS PLOT?

      ARTICLE

    2. 4.7
      DEVELOPING YOUR PLOT LINE

      ARTICLE

    3. 4.8
      WHAT IF?

      ARTICLE

    4. 4.9
      WRITING CHARACTER

      ARTICLE

  3. A page with the word 'Ideas' written down.

    Ideas for stories

    Ideas for the starting points for stories can come from many different directions. Even ordinary situations can seem extraordinary by a new or surprising insight.

    1. 4.10
      HOOKED BY LINES AND IMAGES

      VIDEO (01:25)

    2. 4.11
      HUNCHES THAT MATTER

      ARTICLE

    3. 4.12
      WRITING ABOUT PERSONAL CONCERNS

      ARTICLE

    4. 4.13
      DRAMATISING CONCERNS

      QUIZ

    5. 4.14
      REFLECTING ON CONCERNS AND IDEAS

      DISCUSSION

    6. 4.15
      EXTRAORDINARY VERSUS ORDINARY

      ARTICLE

    7. 4.16
      SUMMARY OF WEEK 4

      ARTICLE