TVWriter™ Don’t-Miss Posts of the Week – October 16, 2017

Good morning! Time for TVWriter™’s  Monday look at our most popular blog posts of the week ending yesterday. They are, in order:

Peggy Bechko Goes Web Surfing with the Writers

Looking for TV Pilot Scripts?

The #1 Skill You Need To Write For TV (Besides Fantastic Writing)

Kelly Jo Brick: The Write Path With SUPERNATURAL’S Davy Perez, Part 2

11 TV Writing DON’Ts!

And our most visited permanent resource pages are, also in order:

Writing the Dreaded Outline

PEOPLE’S PILOT 2017 Writing Contest

The Logline

THE PEOPLE’S PILOT: Rules

THE PEOPLE’S PILOT: Enter

Major thanks to everyone for making this another great week at TVWriter™. Don’t forget to click above and read what you missed and re-read what you loved!

Only 3 Weeks Left to Enter the People’s Pilot 2017 Writing Contest!

Over $20,000 in prizes & entry bonuses!

FREE FEEDBACK! 

FREE STORYTELLING PATTERNS E-BOOK!

SPECIAL BONUS AWARD – All Entries Eligible!

NEW! We Want Your Web Series Pilots – See ‘Enter’ Page for Details!

TVWriter™’s PEOPLE’S PILOT has been kickstarting the careers of fine new TV writers since the year 2000 – the dawn of the 21st Century. Enter PEOPLE’S PILOT 2017 and create your dream future!

Shows that Winners, Finalists, & Semi-Finalists of TVWriter™’s past contests are or recently have been on the staffs of include:

LETHAL WEAPON
WESTWORLD
MOM
NARCOS
TIME AFTER TIME
GREY’S ANATOMY
THE LEFTOVERS
BASTARD EXECUTIONER
ANIMAL PRACTICE
KILLER WOMEN
NTSF:SD:SUV
GIRLFRIENDS
FILTHY PREPPY TEENS
MELROSE PLACE

SNEAKY PETE
CHICAGO PD

CHICAGO FIRE
PERSON OF INTEREST
THE WALKING DEAD
RIZZOLI AND ISLES
COLONY
ONCE UPON A TIME
THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES
SMALLVILLE
ROME
PRIVATE PRACTICE
SNOWFALL

Plus various TV movies & other one-offs!

The countdown continues, with only 3 weeks till the PEOPLE’S PILOT 2017 Writing Contest closes to entries.

You’ve got from now until the very last minute (11:59 PM) of November 1, 2017 to pay your (measly) entry fee of $50 and upload your pilot script for any series intended for any electronic media – including of course TV – of any length and on any subject.

Find out more about our prizes, rules, and all aspects of PEOPLE’S PILOT 2017 HERE

And if you have any questions, send ’em HERE

Allie Theiss: 5 Shocking Plot Twists That Will Leave You Gasping

Oh, not Ned Stark!

by Allie Theiss

Who doesn’t love a good plot twist that gets your heart pounding and causes you to scream out a “WTF?!”

Viewers love to be surprised, and writers enjoy throwing surprises into the screenplay. A shocking plot twist deliberately doesn’t fit in with the apparent storyline. But there it is anyway, intended to change things up and pivot the plot.

However, have you really ever watched a plot twist that had you gasping for air? Did it literally send you into a panic attack?

My guess is probably not. But here are a few scenarios that have come close…and which we as writers can use to get to that place again. (And again and again…but that’s a different topic.) So, with that in mind, yours truly, Allie Theiss, presents:

5 Shocking Plot Twists That May Have Made – and Still May Make – Someone, Somewhere, Gasp For Air:

1) Off with his head!

Nothing gets a heart pounding faster than the sudden death of a beloved character.

Although Sean Bean tends to die more often than any other actor onscreen, it was still a surprise to viewers when Game of Thrones chopped off its lead character Ned Stark.

Grey’s Anatomy fans needed to breathe into a paper bag with Derek Sheppard’s death by an incompetent surgeon, and George O’Malley cruel death by bus.

2) Aren’t you supposed to be dead?

Who wouldn’t love a character to return from the dead? Especially one that, if he or she returned, would make the ratings skyrocket!

Those old enough to remember a life without cable TV can still remember the shock when Bobby Ewing was found alive, in the shower, by his wife, Pam. That character was supposed to be part of the Dallas pavement.

And now there’s Dan, due back from the dead on the reboot of Roseanne. Or so goes the rumor. Maybe Roseanne will hear the shower running?

3) WTF?

A character rarely forgives the act of betrayal on TV. Most of the time, once betrayed, the character goes on a revenge binge for a season or through the series. There were shows called Revenge and Betrayal for a reason.

Those who made it through the roller coaster of a ride on 24′s first season got to see Teri Bauer being murdered by Nina. From that moment on, Jack relentlessly hunted Nina.

Carrie didn’t know if Brody’s likely defection was in her head or was it a reality? Homeland had everyone guessing for weeks until the betrayal reveals – yep, he was a terrorist.

4) You can’t pick your family.

Nothing like a family member to throw a wrench in the works, catapulting life in a different direction.

While only Monica and Ross were real brother & sister on Friends, all the characters considered their close-knit group as a family. When Joey went behind Ross’s back and fell in love with Rachel, Ross considered it a betrayal by his brother.

In the reboot of Dallas, it’s Ewing vs. Ewing again with John Ross pulling out all of the old tricks from Papa JR’s playbook to stab Christopher in the back, including stealing his love, Elena.

5) Crime pays – or does it?

Crime is not for the faint of heart. Whether the character pulls off the crime of the century or goes down in flames, committing a crime will change them, and not always for the better.

Put crime and family together like in The Sopranos, and you’re bound to see some white-knuckle plot twists. In their debut season, Tony, the show’s anti-hero, took his daughter on a college visit. While there he ran into a rat that spilled information on the family. Without giving it much of a second thought, Tony killed him.

Breaking Bad was a full (and awesome) series based on crime. Walter White, a chemistry teacher, diagnosed with Stage IIIA lung cancer turns to making meth to secure his family’s future before he dies. Each episode which Walter lives through is a plot twist in itself.

If any of the above twists had you gasping for air as you thought about how to put it in your screenplay, I consider my job done here.

Now take these twisty little nuggets of plot and use them to torture somebody else!


Allie Theiss is a TVWriter™ Contributing Writer and one of TVWriter™’s Recommended Writers. Check out her story and marketing tips on Instagram. Learn more about her HERE

Diana Vacc sees Outlander S03 Episode “Of Lost Things”

by Diana Vaccarelli

—SPOILER ALERT—SPOILER ALERT—SPOILER ALERT—

Sunday October 1, 2017, Starz aired season 3, episode 4 of Outlander. In this episode, Jamie (Sam Heughan) is serving as a groomsman for a noble British family and is pulled into a web of intrigue by the scheming Lady Geneva Dunsany. Meanwhile, in a much later time period, Claire, Brianna, and Roger continue their search for Jamie’s whereabouts via history books.

THE GOOD:

  • Toni Graphia pens this episode, and takes a difficult chapter of material from the novel “Voyager” written by Diana Gabaldon, which this season is based on, and builds up the drama and intrigue with care. I was very impressed and happy with how this part of the story was handled by all involved.
  • Lady Geneva (Hannah James) is a spoiled brat and really doesn’t want to marry the much older Lord Ellesmere. After eyeing Jamie and liking what she sees, Geneva threatens his family, leveraging him into sleeping with her three days before her wedding. What makes this turn of events so powerful is that after the “deed” Geneva professes love for Jamie, totally changing my perspective about her and putting me more on her side even after all her deceit. Heughan and James have terrific chemistry in this episode, their characters challenging each other brilliantly.
  • The union of Geneva and Jamie produces a child, Willie (Clark Butler). After Geneva’s death in childbirth, Lord Ellesmere, now her husband threatens the life the newborn child, who is saved – yay! – Jamie. Gratefully, the Dunsanys give Jamie the opportunity to go home, but he rejects the offer because he wants to watch his son grow, even if it’s from outside the family. Jamie stays for a while, and whispers about Willie looking like him begin. To protect the boy, Jamie leaves and return home to his estate.

THE BAD:

The Claire storyline in this episode is dull both conceptually ands visually, with nothing at all exciting to push it along. Research is not a dramatic enough replacement for conflict!

THE REST:

I LOVED the Jamie storyline in this episode. So heartfelt! Heughan shines as he grows his character’s relationship with his son. I couldn’t help but tear up as he rides away, with 4 year old Willie calling out, “Don’t go Mac” and runnint after him futilely while Jamie continues with a perfect single tear falling down his face. Truly perfection. We feel the hurt in both of them.

I’ve said it before and must say it again. If you haven’t watched this series yet, what are you waiting for?


Diana Vaccarelli is TVWriter™’s Critic-at-Large and a student in the TVWriter™ Online Workshop. Find out more about her HERE

TVWriter™ Don’t-Miss Posts of the Week – October 9, 2017

Good morning! Time for TVWriter™’s  Monday look at our most popular blog posts of the week ending yesterday. They are, in order:

Kelly Jo Brick: The Write Path With SUPERNATURAL’S Davy Perez, Part 2

Looking for TV Pilot Scripts?

11 TV Writing DON’Ts!

WGAW October 2017 Calendar

David Perlis: WRITE CONFLICT THAT COUNTS

Larry Brody’s Poetry: ‘We All Aspire To Be Assholes’

And our most visited permanent resource pages are, also in order:

Writing the Dreaded Outline

PEOPLE’S PILOT 2017 Writing Contest

The Logline

THE PEOPLE’S PILOT: Rules

THE PEOPLE’S PILOT: Prizes

TVWRITER™ EMAIL LIST & CONTACT INFO

Major thanks to everyone for making this another great week at TVWriter™. Don’t forget to click above and read what you missed and re-read what you loved!

Larry David Joins the ‘Late Night’ Writing Staff

Ever wonder what the writers room on your favorite Late Night TV show would be like if Larry David were part of it?

Wonder no more! 

NOTE FROM LB: This obviously is LD being LD…and yet it rings so true for every show I ever worked on. And that’s what I love about this biz.

Only 4 Weeks Left to Enter the People’s Pilot 2017 Writing Contest!

Over $20,000 in prizes & entry bonuses!

FREE FEEDBACK! 

FREE STORYTELLING PATTERNS E-BOOK!

SPECIAL BONUS AWARD – All Entries Eligible!

NEW! We Want Your Web Series Pilots – See ‘Enter’ Page for Details!

Winners, Finalists, & Semi-Finalists of TVWriter™’s past contests are or recently have been on the staffs of:

LETHAL WEAPON
WESTWORLD
MOM
NARCOS
TIME AFTER TIME
GREY’S ANATOMY
THE LEFTOVERS
BASTARD EXECUTIONER
ANIMAL PRACTICE
KILLER WOMEN
NTSF:SD:SUV
GIRLFRIENDS
FILTHY PREPPY TEENS
MELROSE PLACE

SNEAKY PETE
CHICAGO PD

CHICAGO FIRE
PERSON OF INTEREST
THE WALKING DEAD
RIZZOLI AND ISLES
COLONY
ONCE UPON A TIME
THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES
SMALLVILLE
ROME
PRIVATE PRACTICE
SNOWFALL

Plus various TV movies & other one-offs!

We’re down to only 4 weeks till the PEOPLE’S PILOT 2017 Writing Contest closes to entries.

You’ve got from now until the very last minute (11:59 PM) of November 1, 2017 to pay your (measly) entry fee of $50 and upload your pilot script for any series intended for any electronic media – including of course TV – of any length and on any subject.

TVWriter™’s PEOPLE’S PILOT has been running online since the year 2000 – the dawn of the 21st Century. Enter it and create your new future!

Find out more about our prizes, rules, and all aspects of PEOPLE’S PILOT 2017 HERE

And if you have any questions, send ’em HERE