Amazon Lord of the Rings writer and former Breaking Bad writer Gennifer Hutchison recently took to Twitter to perform an impromptu question-and-answer session where she made it clear that she believed the narrative structure was necessary for an effective television episode.
Not only did she reveal that narrative structure is necessary for an effective TV episode, but she also touched on the importance of staying true to the characters, what makes a female protagonist ‘kicka ** and how to go about restarting them. franchises, among others.
Hutchinson first announced the Q&A on Twitter, writing, “Hi. How about a Q&A? I would like to refine the focus tho. I will answer questions about CRAFT for TV / TV Series for the next 20 minutes. Do you have burning questions about writing technique and storytelling? Dark.”
She added: “As always, I can only speak from my experience. Take what works. Leave the rest.
Twitter user TheZeusJuice asked, “When writing a pilot, is it more important to adhere to a specific structure (4 acts, 5, etc.) or just to show that you can tell a story? story and have strong characters? “
Hutchison responded, “I think you can have it all, but yes a strong story and characters are more important BUT the structure is part of a strong story. even in streaming / hbo style shows without acting breaks, your episode needs to have some kind of narrative structure to be most effective.
Another Twitter user, KellywhoLA, asked, “I’m struggling with a new pilot. Just in the brainstorming phase. You have characters, a world, conflicts but I can not refine the engine of the series … any advice? “
Hutchison replied, “I have been there. I try to focus on the central tank conflict and go from there. What are they struggling with? What is the world doing to add to this? What paths could they take to face their struggle and how is the world complicating it? “
She added: “So, given that background, flesh out the incident.”
Twitter user Asimplepeasant also asked, “Based on your experience, what are some important habits to develop when editing and rewriting your work?
Hutchison replied, “Consistency. Perspective – don’t get too bogged down in the details of each scene to lose the thread of the story.
She added, “I find it helpful to make passes that focus on a specific goal (plot consistency, voice differentiation, cut repetitive bits).”
Hutchison would answer a number of other questions as well.
Matt Ferguson asked, “What’s a great way to make a moment of achievement or a real character change feel deserved?” “
Hutchison replied, “It should be difficult to get to this. And that should be something the character himself had to do or face to get there. “
Twitter user Dionherself asked, “What’s the most useful thing you learned along the way that added your TV bible / pitch deck build? “
Hutchison replied, “I haven’t written a lot of Bibles or pitch decks, honestly. But I think the most important thing for me is to focus on what excites me about the show and make sure that passes. “
Dogearedlibary asked, “Find issues that matter at the start, but also have room to grow without feeling silly as the show progresses?”
Hutchison tweeted: “So generally a good rule of thumb for me is that you define the big world issues early on, then you build on why they’re important to your character and how that changes over time in the world. the story.”
Quesoextreme asked, “The most common reasons a story goes into the ditch and gets stuck or seems to fail as a story after a good start?” “
She replied, “Trying to force the characters to follow the story in a way that is contrary to their nature without considering this conflict.”
“It’s like getting stuck on a story MUST unfold in a specific way and violating the integrity of the characters to do it. It all falls apart,” she added.
Robertdee asked, “How about the ingredients of a female kicka ** protagonist?”
Hutchison replied, “Like all characters, she should feel like a real person and not like a collection of (cool) traits. What does she want? Why? What stands in its way both outwardly and inwardly? What mistakes does she make and why?
She added, “Just make her a person with a real point of view.”
Then jnrkptweets asked, “How should one tackle the reboot work of a beloved TV show?”
Hutchison responded, “Identify the core of what made this story THIS story. Hold on to this core as you build it.
“I find the traps tend to focus on the superfluous details of the original series instead of the deeper themes and characters. Why do people like it? Focus on preserving that, ”she said.
Finally, Gravelroad435 asked, “Do you have any questions in your head when you start to tell a story or get into the heads of the characters?”
Hutchison asked four questions. She tweeted, “What is this person’s basic value / need? How do they want the world to perceive them? What are they struggling with? And what makes this struggle more difficult?
What do you think of Hutchison’s responses?