Peggy Bechko’s World: Writers, are You Fearing Success?


by Peggy Bechko

Fearing success?

Of course you’d say no!


It’s a plague for writers – that little voice inside that maybe tells you you just aren’t good enough.

That when you are put under the microscope and really examined they’ll find you and your work greatly lacking. Or maybe you’ve gotten a lot of rejections already. Or maybe your friends and/or family think you’re crazy for pursuing the writing life.

However you got there, there’s that nagging fear of actually finding success and being closely examined because of it. So, what do you do?

You dive in and end up sabotaging yourself. Maybe you miss appointments or deadlines. Maybe you flake out altogether and draw down the wrath of the one who could well be poised to propel you forward.

And there’s that dark fear that IF you are successful, they’ll EXPECT things from you! BIG things!

And after all that you conjure up all kinds of reasons as to why you failed and why you’re going to fail again. So, in a dark vortex you end up being afraid of the next failure and of the possibility of success. It gets so bad you’re afraid to even try.

I suspect almost every writer, and artist for that matter, knows the paralyzing fear that goes along with the deep-seated fear of being a ‘loser’.

I mean what if you really, really try and don’t succeed? Better not to try – or to set up pitfalls for yourself that make reaching that success nearly impossible, then saying, “well, I knew it would happen.”

Just look at the screenwriting industry. They accept what, maybe 2% of scripts offered up? And a good percentage of THAT  is from already established writers. Seriously. It’s the industry’s fault, right?

Um, no. Here’s a quote I love: “If you really want to do something, you will find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.”

Do you really want to end up being your own worst enemy, your own worst stumbling block when it comes to getting past the gatekeepers to get that script produced or that novel sold?

I didn’t think so.

My advice? Disassociate from failure. Think of it more like “I didn’t succeed this time, but I learned a lot.”

Let go of your inhibitions. Consider yourself one of your own fictional characters and think of all the roadblocks you throw up for them. What would you do to help this protagonist (you) reach the success everybody is rooting for you to achieve?

If they can do it, so can you…because this protagonist is you. Be aware of the internal conflict, the blasts from the past that might be inhibiting the success you’re looking for. Use your awareness as a time for self-analysis.

And change.

Change is hard for most people. But if you can get your characters to evolve and change then I have no doubt you can do it for yourself. Remember, you’re not the only human being to feel that way. Every one of us is afraid at times and reluctant to make ourselves vulnerable.

I’m no professional in the psych department but here’s a way of looking at it you the storyteller:

“I can.

“I will.

“End of story. ”

Be fearless. Go out there and grab that success you’re longing for.

You will have earned it.

Peggy Bechko is a TVWriter™ Contributing Editor. blog. Learn more about her HERE. Peggy’s new comic series, Planet of the Eggs, written and illustrated with Charlene Brash-Sorensen is available on Kindle. And, while you’re at it, visit the Planet of the Eggs Facebook page and her terrific blog.

How to get the top job in TV: showrunner

Speaking of articles originally posted elsewhere, this look into how to become a TV showrunner is one of the best:


by Jethro Nededog

One of the most coveted jobs in television is that of the showrunner, but the career path to that gig isn’t always clear-cut.

In short, a showrunner is the top dog on a TV show. He or she is responsible for approving everything from casting to scripts, from budgets to set designs. All the while, the showrunner has to protect the creative vision for the show.

“You have to be an advocate for the creative aspect of the show, and that’s harder than it looks sometimes, especially when I have to sign the budget every week,” veteran showrunner Remi Aubuchon recently told Business Insider. (Aubuchon has written or produced on “Caprica,” “Falling Skies,” “Powers,” and “24.”)

Typically, showrunners are writers who have worked themselves up the ladder in writers’ rooms for several television shows (that’s a whole other “how to” article). Julie Rottenberg — whose writing and producing credits include “Sex and the City,” “SMASH,” and “Love Bites” — is a first-time co-showrunner on Bravo comedy “Odd Mom Out.” Rottenberg understands what it takes to get the job.

“For so long, we were writers on shows or producers, writer/producers on a number of shows,” Rottenberg said. “And I realized comparing that to being a showrunner is basically like babysitting versus parenting. Because suddenly the baby is yours, you can’t just leave at six o’clock when it’s time. And you’re pretty much responsible for every aspect of the show.”

Childhood friends Julie Rottenberg, left, and Elisa Zuritsky serve as co-showrunners on Bravo’s “Odd Mom Out.” Andy Kropa/Invision/AP

You might believe that if you create a great show, write a killer pilot script, and then get your show bought at a network, then you’ve earned the right to be its showrunner. The truth is that many show creators don’t end up running their own shows. In some cases, the show creator has very little day-to-day involvement in their own show….

Read it all at Business Insider

“Fargo” Showrunner Noah Hawley Speaks


When the creator/showrunner of a series as highly regarded as “Fargo” speaks, we TVWriter™ minions are eager to listen. And now, thanks to the miracle of interweb video, we can gaze upon his super successful countenance in awe and delight as well.

(What? No, that wasn’t irony or sarcasm at all. This particular minion remembers the days before YouTube became the Font of All Knowledge and appreciates its most excellent existence.)

Writers! ManuFixed is Here for You!

EDITOR’S NOTE: TVWriter™ is continually barraged by with requests from people asking us to recommend a solid, reliable editorial service to help writers prepare their teleplays, screenplays, literary manuscripts as such. We’ve never stepped into that trap because such recommendations are fraught with peril.

Now, though, we’ve found a service we’re happy to step up to the plate for. It’s called ManuFixed. Here’s what its creators have to say:

Scripts! Manuscripts! Plots! Queries!

Scripts! Manuscripts! Plots! Queries! Not only does ManuFixed do stuff, it’s a real word!

by Samantha Bohrman & Cristina Pippa

Sometimes your family won’t read an eighteenth draft of your script, even though it has a stunning, epic love story and a vivid WWII backdrop. (Some of us may know this from experience.) Perhaps you realize that your current circle of readers doesn’t have the expertise to offer you useful feedback anyway.

We started ManuFixed to offer just those services– professional editing and coaching for writers. We are writers ourselves, and we love helping other writers bring their visions to life.

A professional editor with experience writing script coverage will help you take your work to the next level. And if you’re looking for inspiration or someone to pitch your ideas to, you can call on an enthusiastic and thoughtful writing coach who has worked with screenwriters for television and film.

We first met a few years ago at our writing group’s holiday party. We like to call the coffee shop where we write “the office” and host summer BBQs and holiday parties as if we’re a Fortune 500 Company.

One of us was on maternity leave from writing sessions at “the office” when the other one joined the group, so the holiday party was the first chance we got to sit down and find out why everyone thought the other one was so great.

There was German pretzel bread. Writers offered to watch each other’s dogs while they were out of town. And we must have arranged a writing date, because we’ve been meeting once a week since then.

After chatting and exchanging work, we found that:

  • We had worked for the same boutique New York literary agency, and
  • We never got more useful feedback on our work than we did from each other. We had been providing editorial services to writers separately for years, and we had so much fun comparing notes and honing our work together, we decided to go into business.

ManuFixed offers:

  1. Coaching: Focus on your writing goals, pitches, and specific challenges and strengths. Perhaps you’re deciding what to work on next or you would like feedback on an early draft. Hop online or on a phone call with us, and let’s dig in.
  2. Developmental editing for scripts and manuscripts: We’ll read your work multiple times and present you with 2-3 pages of notes, focusing on overall character development, plot, pacing, dialogue, and structure.
  3. Copy editing and proofreading: This is a line edit for that final polish.
  4. Query, plus 10 pages: Refine your query and first 10 pages to help snag an agent.

If you’re interested, check out, connect with us on Twitter (@ManuFixed), or send us an email at

Our pricing for coaching and editing is competitive and is listed on our website. We love talking with writers and discussing their writing. Even if you’re sick-to-death of working on your latest project, we can’t wait.

ManuFixers’ Bios: Samantha Bohrman’s first book, Ruby’s Misadventures with Reality, came out with Entangled Publishing in 2014, and two more titles will be released in the next year. Cristina Pippa is a published playwright and filmmaker, and she received an Artist’s Initiative grant for her novel.

The Wit & Wisdom of Chris Albrecht

Starz CEO Chris Albrecht has been one of the most influential executives in television  for decades.

At HBO he developed such classic shows as OzThe Sopranos, The WireEntourage, and Six Feet Under, and at Starz he has brought Power, Ash vs Evil Dead, Outlander Blunt Talk, Black Sails, and more outstanding visions to audiences everywhere.

One of the keys to the success of Albrecht’s shows has been the writing. As a former literary agent (who once represented our Beloved Leader LB), he knows the good stuff when he reads it.

So when Albrecht speaks about his career, we, as writers aching to learn all we can, make it a point to listen. (So what if he was fired from HBO for an act of domestic abuse. Hey, it happened in Vegas, so, you know. Anyway:)



by Aaron Mendelsohn

I don’t love the story-breaking process.  It’s like putting on sunscreen when all I really want to do is get outside and play with my kids.  It’s like doing push-ups before breakfast.  I whine about it, I put it off, I dread it every time.  And every time, I’m really, really glad I did it.

Being a stickler about my story-breaking is one of the key reasons I’ve managed to sustain a 20+ year successful writing career.  My method is simply this: I ask myself a series of eleven story-related questions that prompt ideas about key character and story points.  Once I answer the questions to my satisfaction, I start filling in the story until I have a detailed outline.

Many of my questions are intuitive, like “Do I know what my story amimg_2118is about?” and “What is the Call to Action?”  “Do I know what my story is about?” is particularly important because the answer ends up being the cornerstone of my screenplay (or pilot or series pitch).  If I can’t distill my concept into a simple, clear, one-sentence logline, I may be sitting on a story that’s weak, broken or over-complicated.

Here’s an example of a good logline: “A good-hearted but insecure king who suffers from a debilitating stutter is forced to work with an eccentric speech therapist to deliver the speech that will unify his kingdom.”  In that one sentence I summed up the Central Character (the king), his Fatal Flaw (insecurity), the main antagonistic force (his stutter), the Journey (working with a speech therapist), the Climax (the speech) and the stakes (unifying his kingdom).

Other questions are more challenging and require more thought. “Who is my Central Character(s) and what is their Conscious and Unconscious Desire?” is an important one because it prompts me to write a character bio and spell out the dilemma and conflict that will drive the central character’s journey.  Story-related questions like “What is the Overarching Conflict?” and “What is the Central Character’s Lowest Point?” are good because they help me stake out the bewildering badlands of the Second Act.

Asking yourself the tough questions – whether they’re my 11 or your magic number – is a great way to stimulate ideas and make sure your story-breaking is on track.  You’ll end up with stronger story bones and, ultimately, a better screenplay.

Aaron Mendelsohn is a working screenwriter, a professor of screenwriting at Loyola-Marymount University, a friend of Larry Brody’s and. oh yeah, the Secretary-Treasurer of the Writers Guild of America West.  He is best known for Disney’s AIR BUD, which spawned eleven sequels.  Current projects include a Warner Bros feature, a Spike TV drama series and a Hallmark movie.

Aaron’s story-breaking method is now available as an ebook: THE 11 FUNDAMENTAL QUESTIONS: A GUIDE TO A BETTER SCREENPLAY For a limited time he’s offering a 20% discount to TVWriter™ readers.  Go for more information.

Posts TVWriter™ Wishes We’d Published Instead of Those Other Guys

This week’s collection of recent articles from other websites about TV, TV writing, etc., etc., etc. The plan here is for you to click on their headlines and visit the sites and read the posts in full…and is anybody asks, tell ’em TVWriter™ sentcha, okay?

The Guggenheim Brothers Offer a Look Inside a TV Writing Family Dynasty
by Lesley Goldberg


The Guggenheim brothers have formed their own TV dynasty.

The trio, eldest brother Marc Guggenheim (The CW’s Arrow, Legends of Tomorrow), middle child Eric Guggenheim (CBS’ Hawaii Five-0)and youngest David Guggenheim (ABC’s Designated Survivor), together oversee four hours of broadcast television every week.

So where did their love of the small screen come from? The brothers stopped by The Hollywood Reporter for a Facebook Live this week to open up about their different paths to primetime as well as their dream collaborations….

Why television writing has become the new home of verbal complexity


The death of Geoffrey Hill this summer put one of his more astringent declarations back into circulation: “Accessible is a perfectly good word if applied to supermarket aisles, art galleries, polling stations and public lavatories, but it has no place in the discussion of poetry and poetics.” Characteristically for Hill, this sounds imperious, but you can’t deny that it’s funny. And it’s funny because the statement embodies the difficulty it’s arguing for – “difficulty” not necessarily in the literary sense, where it’s conflated with “obscurity”, but in the sense pertaining to human beings, as in “She’s quite difficult”, where the word is synonymous with peculiarity, intransigence and eccentricity….

The Humbling, Humiliating True Story of a Middle-Aged Woman in Hollywood
by Pamela Redmond Satran

Pamela Redmond Satran, author of, "Younger" inside one of her favorite Montclair bookstore, Watchung Booksellers on a recent Friday. Ms. Satran's book has been picked up by TVLand to be turned into an original TV series. Gregg Vigliotti for The New York Times

There’s a superstition among novelists that the things you make happen to your characters might happen to you. This goes far toward explaining why I wrote a novel called Younger about a middle-aged mom escaping the suburbs for a new life in the city in the arms of a 26-year-old tattoo artist. Wishful thinking or prophecy? Maybe both….

You’ll always guess wrong
by Ken Levine


There are some writers who are gifted and amazingly prolific. David E. Kelley, Aaron Sorkin, and Matthew Weiner can pretty much write an entire season of television themselves. I don’t know how they do it. If I tried that I’d be dictating the last six episodes from ICU.

There are also very strong showrunners who perform extensive rewrites on every script that comes across his or her desk….