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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Practical and a page-turner - I don't give five stars easily, 6 Aug 2014
Charles Harris (London, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Writing for Television (Creative Essentials) (Paperback)
This is an excellent book. Let me declare an interest first - that I've met Yvonne twice in the real world, and many times on-line - and we've guest-blogged for each other. But I don't give five stars to just anyone.

Most books on screenwriting are predictable and prescriptive. This book is neither. It's both very practical and a good page-turner, plunging you from the first into the heady atmosphere of the TV writers' room. Yvonne is a highly experienced writer and producer for some of the biggest shows in TV drama in the UK. She has worked with many of the best names in the business and won awards for her work.

Her experience is conveyed both through clearly stated principles and pungent stories. We see her facing down an angry star actress, hear of writers who made themselves unemployable through ignoring the basics of TV politics, and follow the details of how a TV show is created and sustained.

Along the way, the reader gains important knowledge of the process, and craft, of working as a professional for TV. There are sections (such as "Mistakes TV Writers Make") which I wish I'd read when I started - they would have saved me much pain. She also includes thoughtful interviews with current writers, and the script pages of the opening of Sally Wainwright's first draft for what became "Last Tango in Halifax". My one (very small) quibble is that the book's editor should have corrected the Tango script's title page, which is the default "Name of First Writer" page that Final Draft throws in if you don't correct it.

Given that I've now read Yvonne's book twice, it's a sign of its strength that this is the only nit-pick I could find. Highly recommended.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Makes you want to get up and start doing what it says on the cover!, 13 Jun 2014
This review is from: Writing for Television (Creative Essentials) (Paperback)
What I love about this book is the way it reminds me of another - utterly unrelated - guide: The Complete Book of Running by James Fixx. When I first got into running I bought a copy and was constantly dipping into it. It became essential bedtime and relax-time reading for me. This book is the same, just on a different topic. The reason 'Writing for Television...' reminds me of Fixx's classic is its sheer readability, and the way it makes you want to do what it says on the cover. Rather than a dry how-to style text book, reading this book is like being invited to spend the day with an expert and having her take you by the hand for a tour of Television Centre, and being introduced to everyone you could ever need to know in the process. Then imagine someone following you the whole day with a camcorder and giving you all the footage afterwards so you can rewind to your favourite sections and live them all again. And again!
I'm a prose writer normally, but curiosity pulled me into this one and there is much good wisdom that writers of ALL forms would benefit from.
If you are seriously wondering what it would be like to be part of the writing team on TV staples such as Eastenders and Holby City - then have this little gem on the bookcase by your bed. And if you don't have a bookcase by your bed, get one!
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Writing for Television (Creative Essentials)
Writing for Television (Creative Essentials) by Yvonne Grace (Paperback - 24 Jun 2014)
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