Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Pilot Show of Writing

Have you ever watched the pilot series of your favorite T.V. show AFTER being hooked for a few seasons?
on by imagery majestic

The pilot is that very first show...the one they produced to see if the T.V. network wants to pick up that series. It introduces the audience to the characters and the show's premise.

Well, in my opinion, it usually takes a season or two for a show to really get in its groove where the actors really shape the characters they portray.  Not that the pilot is no bueno, but as the series evolves, the show tightens its characters' distinctness and the premise.

An example I can think of is Friends. Around that third or fourth season, I noticed the characters
really hit their sweet spots...believability and consistency from episode to episode. Whenever that pilot came on as a re-run, I could hardly watch it without thinking, "This is so forced!" They were TRYING to set up the series in that one pilot episode.

As a writer, I have noticed this in my manuscripts. After plugging away for 90K +, I learn a thing, or ten thousand, about my characters. I ALWAYS end up massaging the characters in the first few chapters based on the knowledge of who they really are as the story "ripens".

Believability and consistency from chapter must be executed in the very beginning during that next round of edits, or I will have a story that might seem like two different authors wrote it.

Be sure to take the time to edit your first chapters with this in mind. You want your audience to keep on reading...and if your writing is stilted and forced at the beginning...there might not be any readers for the rest of your book!

And unlike a t.v series whose audience grows along with the seasons, authors have to get it right in one fell swoop...we don't get to build in character development over a season or two!

Angie Dicken is a full-time mom and lives in the Midwest with her Texas Aggie sweetheart. An ACFW member since 2010, she has written five Historical Romance novels, has a Historical underway, and is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of The Steve Laube Agency. Angie also spends her time designing one-sheets and drinking good coffee with great friends. Check out her author page at and her personal blog at 


kaybee said...

Angie, this is very wise. We can start out with a concept and a couple of characters, but they should grow and develop along with the manuscript or we're not doing our jobs.
Kathy Bailey

Angie Dicken said...

Thanks for stopping by, Kathy! Hope you have a great week.