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Writing for TV and Radio

by Sue Teddern & Nick Warburton

Bloomsbury, 2016


This essential companion offers invaluable insights and solid, practical guidance to those keen to write for TV and radio. 

  • Part one explores the nature of the media. 

  • Part two includes reflections and tips from award-winning writers of film, television and radio from the UK, the US and Scandinavia.

  • Part three offers practical advice on technical aspects of writing for TV and radio, including character development, structure and dialogue.


Here’s an excerpt on kick-starting your creativity:

"The Big Question. The one all writers dread: ‘Where do you get your ideas from? ’Sometimes you go to bed, convinced you’ll never have an original thought again. Your writing career has come to an end and you’ll have to get a job stacking shelves at Tesco. And then you wake up the next morning, and from the depths of your subconscious, you’ve crafted a freshly minted, semi-workable idea. You’re a writer again. 

Then there are times when the ideas keep coming and if you don’t write them down quickly, in your nearest notepad, they’ll fly back into the ether for someone else to snap up.

So how to come up with the solid-gold idea that will transport you, skipping and clapping with joy, to your computer screen every day? What will make it into the thing that excites, blocks and scares you – in a good way? The project that keeps you awake at night with all its pitfalls and possibilities?

A script for TV or radio can go in any number of directions. So it’s vital to turn your idea into something concrete and marketable as soon as possible, while retaining the seed of enthusiasm that inspired you in the first place. 

Wherever your script takes you, you must have what Ray Frensham, in his book Screenwriting, calls the BPF – the Burning Passion Factor. If you aren’t fired up, it’s back to the drawing board.

If you’re going through a fallow, ideas-free period, there are ways to kick-start your creativity.

‘What if’ is an excellent starting place.  We do this all the time. We’re constantly constructing back stories for that woman on the train not answering her phone, the man walking past carrying a table lamp, the guy who runs the junk shop with no customers. 

What if:  the woman on the train is having an affair; the man with the lamp has just murdered someone with it; the junk shop is full of family belongings that the guy can’t part with." 

"Packed with useful tips from professional writers it is, for me as a, to date, amateur writer, a mine of information."

"If you want to write for television and radio, this guide is as essential a part of your kit as a reliable internet connection. Seriously."

"Buy this book - it's just wonderful, taking you step-by-step through the must-knows of the industry and the craft, in an easy-to-read, friendly and very funny style. Brilliant."

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