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Sometimes I'm asked how I became a TV writer. I was quite lucky and answered an advert sent out by a company that makes TV shows. They read some samples of my work and invited me to an interview.

I wrote a draft script which was accepted and that got me part-time work, which became a full-time job. So it can be done. I had no TV experience but with 12 books already published I could hit deadlines and write in a range of styles.

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Writingfortv

Here are some things TV companies look for.

DO YOU ...

have a sense of humour?

More importantly can you be funny under pressure? (Such as when you have a whole production crew waiting for your next script).

have the ability to work in a team?

Writing a script may start as a solo effort but soon there will be producers, editors and directors all waiting to add their views (good or bad).

think in pictures?

The worst TV shows drone on with boring talking. Action drives a story so it is important to keep the plot moving with surprise twists and lots of energy.

believe in yourself?

You have to be confident enough to get your vision across. When your work is changed you really have to know what to fight for and what to let go.

write original stuff?

Okay, nothing is 100% original but TV companies are always looking for twists on familiar things. It helps to reinvent things that haven't been around for a while. How about a western set in Space, or adventures in an Underwater Restaurant. Hmmm I'm sure your ideas are better...

write clearly for your audience?

By this I mean you have to know who you are writing for and why. I spent many years teaching so that gave me lots of time with children and an understanding of what they might like. Of course, fashions come and go so that is why I go round schools asking a lot of questions!

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To see how newer plays are set out check out the BBC Writers Room info.

To see a list of my TV credits click on a show

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