Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Writing scene-by-scene outlines

On the BBC Writersroom blog, Guild member Joy Wilkinson explains how she wrote (and re-wrote) a scene-by-scene outline for Doctors.
Looking back at my first draft, it was clear that despite my best efforts, there was too much writing and not enough story. A scene-by-scene is all about events management. You have to have sufficient story beats for a packed episode, and the right ones in the right places, or else it's all just words on a page and no one needs to read more of them.


  1. Anonymous8:38 pm

    I totally agree with the above but when I attended a couple of TAPS courses the tutor, pooh poohed the idea of creating a treatment. He seemed to think it was creative effort wasted. This surprised me as he had written for the industry and I know they like treatments.

    It made me think: what hope was there for up and coming writers subject to two diametrically opposed ideas coming from so called established industry experts? How many "expert" tutors does it take to change a light bulb?....

    Perhaps it matters less than getting an agent.

  2. Joy Wilkinson5:56 pm

    I take your point, but they're two different situations. If you're working on your own project - an original screenplay, say - then it's your choice whether to do a treatment. If you find it a waste, course you're free to go straight to the script.

    But on Doctors, and most other continuing drama series as far as I'm aware, there is no choice. You have to get a treatment signed off before you move forward to the script stage.

    Even if you personally find it a creative waste, the producers need to see it to plan casting, locations etc. as well as to give notes on the story. Hope that clears it up a bit. And I'm certainly no established industry expert - am still finding my way!


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.