I’ve been having a very busy period here at Script Advice Towers, so for now, just a few words on shaping your series stories.
As a long form television writer, you need to adopt an incremental approach to shaping and delivering your story lines. A story must be presented in stages, in small, significant beats, in pulses; not in a rush all at once, but over time, bit by engaging bit.
Writers of this format more than any other, need to be able to create, control and make perform on the page and thus on the screen, story lines that hold the attention, but that do not give up all their glory or show all their colours up front.
Writers must learn to structure their story lines in such a way as to present first an intriguing idea, then reveal the exploration of that idea in – increments.
The series through line of your story is the thread on which you will hang your story line bead by bead – adding to the detail, the depth and the intrigue of your story line as you go.
The traditional three act structure does not apply to series story telling.
Series story tellers need to keep adding to the story pot in tasty bite sized chunks so a four act or five act structure is more frequently adopted.
Use the over all structure of your series to shape each individual episode; so if you are writing for an established ITV series for instance, you will be able to use the ad breaks to help you shape your story.
A typical series episode structure may look more like this:
Act One – Ad break.
Act Two – add an element/twist Act Three – Ad Break.
Act Four – add an element/twist Act Five – Cliff Hanger – Final Ad Break.
If you are not writing for a commercial channel; use the episode length to help you divide your story line into interesting segments.
Here’s my book on writing for television series and soaps. It’s a must if you want to get your head around what is required of you as a writer for long form television drama.
I will be talking about series storytelling and more at my popular Story Lining for Series TV workshop December 13th/14th. https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/how-to-storyline-for-tv-series-with-yvonne-grace-13-14-december-2014-tickets-14297930495
Thanks to Creative Skillset; Script Advice and Skriva Writing School will also be hosting a five month tv script development programme. Here, I am your personal script editor and will be taking writers through their drafts. https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/write-a-tv-pilot-script-5-monthly-workshops-tickets-14261641955
Get in touch via my website.