Saturday, March 04, 2006


Words on Paper

Jane Espenson, a television writer whose credits include Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, and DS9, has been keeping a blog about the art and craft of writing for television, much of it aimed at novice writers working on spec scripts. I've found, though, that much of what Espenson has to say has application in other media. A recent discussion of dialogue, for example, contains a few pearls of wisdom that many SF/F novelists could benefit from reading. In any event, I found yesterday's post about outlining particularly interesting. My own process is very much like Espenson's unnamed colleague's "words on paper" approach.

One of my Buffy colleagues had a method I want to tell you about. He would write what he called a "words on paper" draft. In this draft he would give all the scenes their shape, but he wouldn't finalize the dialogue. The characters were all given on-the-nose versions of what they needed to say.

After this draft was done, he would go through and rewrite the lines and polish the action and description, creating the draft he would turn in.

Between Espenson's blog and Ron Moore's blog, I'm discovering more and more that the outlining wheel I've been gradually reinventing over the years was originally beaten into shape by the best television writers, most of them working on genre shows. As I've recently noted, I've watched a lot of genre television, so I don't suppose that should come as a surprise. Still, it's been an unexpected realization, for all of that.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by 

Blogger. Isn't yours?