DIY TV WRITING: THE TEMPLATE

Below is a TV show template I created based off of Three Act Structure, Michael Hauge’s Five Key Turning Points , The Eight Sequence Structure, the Hero’s Journey and the Heroine’s Journey. Incorporating Teaser, Cliffhanger and or Denouement specifically for Television purposes. Best way to start writing your pilot!

Enjoy! ❤

TIP: Use this structure as a worksheet, fill in each line with brainstorming ideas and use it as a cheat sheet for your pilot episode!

TEASER [~3-6 pages]

Inciting Incident

ACT I  [~13ish pages]

*SEQUENCE 1*
The Setup, The Status Quo
Heroine’s Journey: Illusion of the perfect world
Hero’s Journey: Ordinary world, Call to Action/Adventure

THE OPPROTUNITY [Turning Point #1] ~10-13%

*SEQUENCE 2*
New Situation
Predicament
Lock-In
Heroine’s Journey: Shattering of Illusion, Realization or Betrayal
Hero’s Journey: Refusal of the Call, Meeting the Mentor

CHANGE OF PLANS [Turning Point #2] ~%25

ACT II [~24 pages]

*SEQUENCE 3*
Progress
1st obstacle/Rising Stakes
Heroine’s Journey: Awakening & Preparing for Journey
Hero’s Journey: Crossing the Threshold
*SEQUENCE 4*
1st culmination
Midpoint
Heroine’s Journey: Descent
Hero’s Journey: Tests, Allies, & Enemies

POINT OF NO RETURN [Turning Point #3] ~50%

*SEQUENCE 5*
Complications/Rising Action
Subplot
Heroine’s Journey: Eye of the storm
Hero’s Journey: Approach
*SEQUENCE 6*
Higher Stakes
Main Culmination
Heroine’s Journey: Death- All is lost
Hero’s Journey: Ordeal, Death & Resurrection

MAJOR SETBACK [Turning Point #4] ~75%

ACT III [~13 pages]

*SEQUENCE 7*
Final Push
New Tension and or Twist (Monkey Wrench)
Heroine’s Journey: Support & Rebirth
Hero’s Journey: Reward, Seizing the Sword

CLIMAX [Turning Point #5]   ~? 85-99%

*SEQUENCE 8*
Aftermath
Resolution
Heroine’s Journey: Rebirth & Return to Perfect World
Hero’s Journey: The Road Back; Resurrection; Return w/ the Elixir

{DENOUEMENT/CLIFFHANGER}

Standard operating procedure 1 PAGE = Aprox 1 MINUTE filming ( this isn’t strictly true, but its a good frame of reference. Some genres, like Sci-Fi, have more description in the script that doesn’t add to film time, but in general these large descriptions should be avoided).
1 Hour serialized drama averages about 58 mins. With commercial breaks averages around 45 mins.

Nothing is set in stone of course, but it’s a good place to start!

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Phobias for your writing, character development, horror, thriller

Here is a new angle for your horror, thriller, or psychological stories. Perhaps vampires are people who simply suffer from Alliumphobia, Phengophobia?

Or maybe you use these phobias to bring depth and mood to your pieces. Which ones scare you? Chances are they scare your readers too.

Alternatively, you can use these phobias to develop your characters even if you story has nothing to do with horror. Even the bravest characters have fears….

Metrophobia – Fear or hatred of poetry.

Deipnophobia – fear of dinner parties.

Arithmophobia – fear of numbers.

Selenophobia – fear of the moon.

Octophobia – fear of the number 8.

Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia – fear of the number 666.

Sesquipedalophobia – fear of long words.

Alliumphobia – Fear of garlic.

Venustraphobia – fear of beautiful women.

Samhainophobia – Fear of Halloween.

Philophobia – Fear of falling in love.

Chirophobia – Fear of hands.

Paraskavedekatriaphobia – Fear of Friday the 13th.

Sciaphobia – Fear of Shadows.

Nyctohylophobia – Fear of the woods at night.

Panophobia – Fear of everything.

Aichmophobia- Fear of needles or pointed objects.

Anthophobia- Fear of flowers.

Asymmetriphobia- Fear of asymmetrical things.

Autophobia- Fear of being alone or of oneself.

Bacillophobia- Fear of microbes.

Barophobia- Fear of gravity.

Cacophobia- Fear of ugliness.

Catoptrophobia- Fear of mirrors.

Chromophobia or Chromatophobia- Fear of colors.

Chronophobia- Fear of time.

Chronomentrophobia- Fear of clocks.

Clinophobia- Fear of going to bed.

Coimetrophobia- Fear of cemeteries.

Decidophobia- Fear of making decisions.

Disposophobia- Fear of throwing stuff out. Hoarding.

Dysmorphophobia- Fear of deformity.

Eisoptrophobia- Fear of mirrors or of seeing oneself in a mirror.

Gephyrophobia or Gephydrophobia or Gephysrophobia- Fear of crossing bridges.

Haphephobia or Haptephobia- Fear of being touched.

Homichlophobia- Fear of fog.

Mnemophobia- Fear of memories.

Wiccaphobia: Fear of witches and witchcraft.

Verbophobia- Fear of words.

Trypanophobia- Fear of injections.

Theatrophobia- Fear of theatres.

Staurophobia- Fear of crosses or the crucifix.

Spectrophobia- Fear of specters or ghosts.

Somniphobia- Fear of sleep.

Sociophobia- Fear of society or people in general.

Snakephobia- Fear of snakes. (Ophidiophobia)

Seplophobia- Fear of decaying matter.

Potamophobia- Fear of rivers or running water.

Porphyrophobia- Fear of the color purple.

Photophobia- Fear of light.

Oneirophobia- Fear of dreams.

Philosophobia- Fear of philosophy.

Pogonophobia- Fear of beards.

Placophobia- Fear of tombstones.

Phengophobia- Fear of daylight or sunshine.

Onomatophobia- Fear of hearing a certain word or of names.

Oenophobia- Fear of wines.

Neophobia- Fear of anything new.

Nephophobia- Fear of clouds.

Noctiphobia- Fear of the night.

Nomatophobia- Fear of names.

Nosocomephobia- Fear of hospitals.

Found these here: http://phobialist.com/

Unusual Words for Writing Prompts

Here are several websites about curious, old, and unused words you can use to A) build your vocabulary B) create interesting writing prompts, short story ideas, or plot movements, characters &ETC

For example:

Lucubration /ˌlo͞ok(y)əˈbrāSHən/ noun formal

the act of studying by candlelight ; nocturnal study ; meditation

that which is composed by night; that which is produced by meditation in retirement; hence (loosely) any literary composition

a piece of writing, typically a pedantic or overelaborate one.

Now take lucubration and craft a short story, writing prompt, or simply start writing about what it makes you think of. Use it in a sentence. Write two paragraphs about someone who lucubrates.

Here are great sites that give many many words to learn and choose from. Happy epeoltarification.

 

Curios Words & Phrases

A decent list of very unusual words like wimbler, squinch, & ailurophile.

 

Unused Words

Quite a copacetic list, and handily categorized by noun, verb & adjective.

 

Etymologically Speaking

A curios list of rather familiar words, with a bonus of telling you where they are from, settings, histories galore!

 

The Encyclopedia of Arda

A swell list of archaic or unusual words used in Tolkien’s works.

 

The Best Old English Words

Only 13 words, but stupendous nonetheless.

 

Bizarre, Old, Outdated or Weird Words

A little outdated itself, but still a good list.

 

Bonus Video! 40 weird words and their origins

 

 

Tarot cards as writing tools

Cartomancy  /ˈkärtəˌmansē/ noun

fortune-telling by interpreting a random selection of playing cards.

Here is an easy way to use tarot cards to generate plot, setting, characters, conflict, inner emotions and writing prompts.

strength_by_succulentmoon

‘Strength’ available here

If you don’t have one already, buy a tarot deck with a tarot book, or, you can download a free tarot app on your smartphone, though working with the actual cards is easiest for me.

Shuffle, pick out cards. See what combos you make. Look in the book and try some spreads. Or put cards together randomly. You can read the descriptions in the guide for an in depth look at the card meanings. They are rife with symbolism and archetypes. Use the combos to prompt your writing! Learn more about the universe in the process.

Look for archetypes on the cards, from there, narrow down your characters. Is your character a priestess archetype but a stay at home mom? The king of pentacles may be an accountant, or successful businessman. The knight of cups may indicate a love interest. The knight of swords might indicate a love interest in a action/adventure story, or a love interest with anger issues. The chariot might be a taxi driver. The star might be the protagonists dream girl. ETC.

Create plot by layering cards on top of your characters. Do they face heartbreak (3 of swords), destruction (the lightning stuck tower), does one get pregnant? Etc. Is their jealousy? Where is the jealousy? At work? In the home? The symbols on the cards will create conflict if you look for it.

Look for setting in the backgrounds of your cards. Are they in a city? A home? The country? Is there a mountain? A forest? What combinations have you made? Do the cards indicate travel?

Here is a basic structure you can use:

Major Arcana: major character archetypes and big plot movements, plot arcs

Suit of cups: emotion, romance, drama, love, water

Suit of pentacles: money, career, the home, family, earth

Suit of wands: creativity, passion, spirituality, sex, fire

Suit of swords: conflict, violence, tragedy, battle-scenes, protection, air

Page cards: young man or woman, message, communications

Knight cards: romantic lead, hero archetypes, competition?

Queen cards: leading ladies, matriarchs, women on top, competition?

King cards: action/political/patriarch leads, the chief archetypes, villains?

 

Take it a step further and do “readings” for your characters. Take notes and use them to build emotional profiles or to add depth to your characters’ motivations.

Happy writing!