TV Writing for Novelists

Work on the novel has been slow recently, so I’ve been stealing from the structure and clarity of TV writing to help move it forward. I picked up *tons* of useful energy from this approach. Below are some of the great links that helped me figure out the process.

Often TV shows are structured with A, B, and C storylines. They intertwine and influence each other to varying degrees. Each story line premise is broken into beats (called ‘breaking the episode’) and is plotted out step by step, to create a beat sheet. These are then blended together and fleshed out in an outline document. This is a simple prose version of the script.

From low to high levels of detail, the outputs on the writing journey are: Premise > A,B,C storylines > beat sheet > outline > script.

This great blogpost breaks down an episode of Community into its storylines and creates a beat sheet, to show you what it looks like. The most important thing i took from this, is that:

A point on the beat sheet isn’t just an action happening. It’s action + the character’s response.

Once I started outlining my story in this way, it moved so fast! No more dawdling around with characters not going anywhere.

Mike DiMartino also has a great series of posts that go through the process of writing a Korra episode:

Get a website, quick!

First things first, you need a domain name. That is, you want to find a website address that is available, and meaningful to you and your audience. Generally shorter is better, and if you're an author or artist, grabbing your name is the best. Registering and paying for this is totally separate to whatever you put on the website itself. You can find out what names are available at www.hover.com —type the name you want into the search field, and it will come back and tell you what extensions are available for that name. i.e. .com, .org etc. Generally, .coms are a bit more expensive than other extensions, but they do have a professional ring about them. Registration with hover costs around $13/year, and you will need to pay that every year you want to keep the website.

Separately you can try wordpress.com for easy hosting and website set up. This will hold all the content on your site.

Hit the register website button and fill in the form. In the blog address field, enter the name you registered at hover, but leave the .wordpress.com extension for now. You can point Wordpress to your new domain when it has finished registering. This is called domain mapping, and instructions on how do that are here. It involves going back to your domain registrar (Hover) and telling them you want that domain to look at wordpress for the content. It currently costs $13/year at Wordpress.

If that sounds too challenging, you *can* just register a domain with wordpress, but it makes it harder to move around when down the line you decide you want to move away from their hosting, or manage multiple sites.

Once you’ve set it up, you can select a theme from the hundreds available, and start customizing the look. Some are free, others cost money. I recommend starting with a free one to figure things out like, uploading pictures, and how to add pages to list your publications, or ‘about’ details.

There’s a quick start guide here: https://learn.wordpress.com/

Good luck!