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Breaking Bad writing tips

Breaking Bad had almost 3 million viewers by season five. Sure there’s a number of contributing factors to its enormous success and one of those defining factors is its gripping storyline and complex characters. There are a lot of lessons on successful writing that you can take away from these popular TV shows. Here I’ve listed the most prominent from a few of my favourites:

breaking bad

What I learnt from Breaking Bad (SPOILER ALERT)

  1. Take your character just far enough but not too quickly. For example, when Jane (Jesse’s girlfriend) died, the writers consciously wrote in that Walt wouldn’t save her from dying as opposed to killing her directly.
  2. Put the characters in difficult challenges and let them get themselves out.
  3. Be flexible. Jesse was originally written to be a temporary character but worked so well, they had to rewrite him in.
  4. Have endless discussions, with your cowriters, yourself, your keyboard, they character themselves. Only then will you be able to write what is best for the story.
  5. The location of Breaking Bad very much influenced the story. Albuquerque tourism offered discounts to entice film crews to work there and once they started filming there, the writers found that the colours, the landscape and scenery, the way the sky sat all influenced the story.

You might like Writing tips from New Girl.

For more about how to write, read my writing blog.

New Girl and writing tips

New Girl, starring Zooey Deschanel and created by Elizabeth Merriweather, has a team of talented writers (11 during the first season and 15 during the second season) and each episode can take a few weeks or more to write and ‘…as the show’s jokes rely on the actors’ performance instead of perfectly constructed punch lines…’ the actors are encouraged to pitch story ideas. 

new girl writing

What I learnt from New Girl

  1. Just write about what and who you know and make it something you are proud of.
  2. Let people help. Collaboration can make your project better – especially in writing for TV.
  3. Don’t write a joke for the joke’s sake (especially a runner – an ongoing joke), make sure it fits, step back and view the whole piece to see if it works.
  4. Story lines and processes can be messy and organic – it’s more realistic.
  5. People hooking up always creates great conflict and audience interest. It’s not always the resolve of a situation but can be the start of one.
  6. Walking is great for remedying “writer’s block”.

You may also like Breaking Bad writing tips.

parks and rec tv show

Five writing tips I learnt from Parks and Recreation

Watch on Stan

parks and rec stan australia

There are a lot of lessons that watching plenty of TV can offer particularly when it comes to writing.  Parks and Recreation is one of my most beloved sitcoms and I have spent years falling asleep to its obnoxious “doot a la doot” theme song.

​Here are four things I learnt from the writers of Parks N’ Rec. What I learnt from Parks and Recreation

  1. The character of Lesley Knope was already formed in creator, Amy Poehler’s head, she just needed to write the TV show that would fit around her and refine how the world and responded to her.
  2. Fart jokes are always funny.
  3. Write the lines for the characters, not for the audience.
  4. A writing project is just like any other project and a project needs a good leader – either in a team or a part of yourself.
Stan TV series

Catch all seasons of Parks and Recreation on Stan.