TV Writing Goes to College

We admit it. The headlinel on this post may be a bit misleading. Television writing has, after all, been a major area of study for more than at least a couple of decades now (our own LB taught it at The College Formerly Named The College of Santa Fe in Santa Fe, New Mexico in the early 1990s), but this article coming from a web page dedicated to  college student work, is perhaps the most knowledgeable one – and certainly the hippest – to come from a student yet:

Florida State University, where at the time this article was written, its writer was spending a whole lotta time

3 Television Shows Every Aspiring Writer Should Watch
by Eliana Dubosar

For writers, inspiration can come from any and every facet of life, including their surroundings, the people they interact with on a daily basis and sources of entertainment.

Although there are many movies that follow the lives of individuals trying to make it in the journalistic or publishing world, many of them tend to paint a perfect picture, tying up conclusions in a bow. Something that I learned in an introduction to creative writing course is that this is not always the case, and sometimes it’s perfectly fine to leave some questions unanswered.

For that reason, certain television shows tend to provide a better source of inspiration for aspiring writers, not only through their storylines, but also through the ways in which the shows are written. So, writers, grab a notebook and a pen and see what you can learn from these television shows.

 1. “Jane the Virgin”

Written in a manner similar to a telenovela (or a Spanish-language soap opera), much of what makes “Jane the Virgin” a resource for writers comes from its unique structure.

The way in which the narration is written, and spoken, presents the audience with even more information to keep them hooked on the show. Although the actual way in which the show is written is important, Jane as a character is where many aspiring writers can pull lessons from.

While much of the series thus far has dealt with Jane’s love life — mainly her relationships with Michael, Rafael and now Adam — it is her journey to become a novelist that is something many can learn from.

In the earlier seasons of the show, Jane worked hard to create her master’s thesis, working with two separate advisors and taking all their notes into consideration when making revisions. One of Jane’s largest challenges with this was the fact that her thesis was a romance novel and the advisor she worked with was a feminist professor that didn’t necessarily believe in romance.

As a result, Jane learned how to work with someone who may not have shared her ideals, while sticking to her guns the whole way through, which is something many writers can learn from.

In the most recent season of “Jane the Virgin,” which takes place years after the death of Jane’s husband, Michael, Jane’s novel gets published. The novel, “Snow Falling,” is a piece in which the setting is in the early 1900s but is a loose retelling of Jane’s time with Michael.

After countless back-and-forth’s with her editor, something all writers are bound to go through before seeing their work take shape, Jane’s dream of becoming a published writer turns into a reality. Once again, the show reminds viewers to never give up, constantly pursue their creative vision and follow through with their projects….

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