Planning A TV Series in 10 Steps

I am not an expert screenwriter, nor do I pretend to be. But when I was looking on the internet for how-to guides on planning and writing TV series, I found very little, so had to come up with a plan all by myself. The system I came up with has worked brilliantly for planning two very different series (see Writing Scripts 1, Writing Scripts 2  and Writing Scripts 3) and then writing them, so I thought I would share my planning method.

Step One: Think of a good title

I shouldn’t need to explain the importance of this, but I will anyway.

A good title can make a huge difference to your approach when writing and can send the plot in many different directions. If you want a good series, you need a good title.

Step Two: Characters!

Think about the type of character involvement you want in your show. Do you want it to focus on just one character and have other minor characters, or do you want lots of main characters? Do you want no minor characters or lots? Decide on how many main characters you want before moving on.

Step Three: Storylines

One of the most important things in TV shows and the thing that really sets it apart from other types of writing is storylines. Consider storylines within each episode (see Step Seven) and the storylines that cover the whole series. Write a list of your main characters and write the storyline/s that will affect them or that they play major roles in next to their name. Don’t have too many storylines or too few. Too many gets confusing and too few gets boring.

Step Four: Key Events

Once you have a list of storylines, come up with the key events for each storyline. Average between three and seven key events for each storyline, unless you’re going for a really, really long one, in which case you could have about fifteen.

Step Five: Chronological Order

Count how many key events you have and then write a list of them in chronological order.

Step Six: Episodes

Divide your list of key events up into episode groups. This gives you the number of episodes in your series, although if you feel you have too many or too few you can always add more in or take some out.

Step Seven: Scenes

Take one piece of paper for each episode you have and on it write every key event and storyline featured in that episode. Then divide the episode into scenes. On the episode sheets also put the story around which that episode revolves.

Step Eight: Locations

Write a list of each main location in your show and then give each location a piece of paper upon which is written the details of it.

Step Nine: Episode Titles

Episode titles aren’t a big deal, but they should sum up what happens without giving too much away.

Step Ten: Write!


Books I Finished Reading Last Week

Theodore Boone The Fugitive

by John Grisham

Good plot, but the quality of the writing was poor. Repeated words, poor adjectives, sentence structure wasn’t great. Whoever wrote the blurb needed to have actually read the book instead of just guessing at the plot.


Theodore Boone The Scandal

by John Grisham

See above and Theo gets a bit annoying in this one.


TFR Prompt 11: “I’m going to need chicken blood, salt, five candles, and a bottle of vodka.” “Vodka? For the spell? “No, that’s just to make me feel better about ripping a hole in the universe.”

I woke up to hear my older sister talking to my cousin in the kitchen.

“I’m going to need chicken blood, salt, five candles, and a bottle of vodka.”

“Vodka? For the spell?

“No, that’s just to make me feel better about ripping a hole in the universe.”

I got out of bed faster than I ever had before, but that’s only because I fell out of bed from the shock. “What’s going on?” I shouted.

“Nothing!” my sister, Lida, said hastily.

“Not nothing, you were just talking about ripping a hole in the universe!” I snatched an apple off the kitchen table and began to eat. I was in shock and I eat whenever I’m in shock.

“It’s not a big deal.” Ari, my cousin, said calmly.

That was when I noticed a large pile of stapled and highlighted papers on the table. I picked it up. I then scowled. “You’re just practicing your script for the school play. That’s okay then. Just do it more quietly. You woke me up.”

I headed back to bed and then stopped. “Hang on, you got into the school play and didn’t tell me?”

Lida and Ari grinned sheepishly and then ran as I chased them out onto the lawn.


Thanks to The Fake Redhead (link here) who wrote the prompt.

Prompts 1-10 can be found on the rest of my blog.

TFR Prompt 10: “But why is his brain green?”

“But why is his brain green?”

Just to make it very, very clear, brains are not supposed to be green. It should be white, grey, yellow, black or red. Not, under any circumstances, green.

On the day that I first asked “But why is his brain green?” I presumed that having a green brain was perfectly acceptable. Turns out, it’s not.

I’m a surgeon. A brain surgeon, to be precise, and when I was training with some very nice people at a university hospital, I watched my first brain surgery. It was on a middle-aged man who had fallen off his bike and crashed into a brick wall. His skull had broken and a couple of tiny bits had started floating around his brain, which was highly dangerous.

The surgeon I was following opened his skull and then froze, as did everyone else in the theatre, apart from me. That was when I asked about the colour of the man’s brain.

“I-I don’t know.” the surgeon stammered. I had never seen her look so shocked.

“Are brains not supposed to be green?”

“No.” the surgeon began to work again. “Elliot, get his records up on the screen.”

“Appendix out aged ten, wisdom teeth out at twenty-seven, born at home.” Elliot listed. “Nothing strange.”

“Is everyone else seeing this?” the surgeon checked. “I haven’t gone mad, have I?”

Everyone shook their heads.

“Let’s just carry on as normal and we’ll see what happens.” she began to work again.

As the surgery progressed, the patient’s blood was blue and parts of his skull were purple.

The surgery went fine and he woke up fairly quickly. I went with the surgeon to tell him about the green brain. His wife, a tall woman with eyes so dark brown they were almost red, was sitting next to him.

“During your surgery we found out that your brain is green, your blood is blue and parts of your skull are purple.” the surgeon said. “So I’d like to have some more tests run on you.”

The patient didn’t seem surprised but his wife started glaring at me.

“I feel fine.” the patient said suddenly. “I don’t need any tests. I’m going home now.”

His wife grabbed his hand and they ran out of the ward. The surgeon and I ran after them but when we reached the corridor, they had vanished.

“Where did the go?” the surgeon gaped. “There’s nowhere else they could have gone and no one can run that fast!”

“Must have been aliens.” I decided.

The surgeon nodded, and to this day, she is the only medical professional I have ever been able to convince to believing in aliens.


Thanks to The Fake Redhead (link here) who wrote the prompt.

The Book I Finished Reading Last Week

Being A Writer

by Travis Elborough and Helen Gordon

This was a book full of quotes from different writers on the different aspects of writing. It wasn’t great and mostly made writing seem a difficult, depressing art.


On another note, I got 133 pages precisely into Gone With the Wind until I got fed up with the main character, the sudden change of pace and the plot. I have put it to the side and will finish it one day, but you could be waiting several years to see the review for that one.

TFR Prompt 9: “What the heck is that?” “My cat.” “Cats don’t have eight legs!”

I didn’t have time to get everything suspicious hidden before Odell came storming through the front door. I started to really regret giving him my spare key.

“What the heck is that?”

“My cat.”

“Cats don’t have eight legs!”

I giggled sheepishly and hastily kicked the cat into my room, closing the door firmly behind it.

“Pia, why the actual hell does your cat have eight legs?” Odell demanded.

“It’s a long story.” I kicked the rune books under the sofa before he got a chance to see them.

“What did you just kick under the sofa?” he got on his hands and knees and pulled one of the books out before I could stop him. “Ancient Rune Magic? What is this, Hogwarts?”

I grabbed it out of his hands and hugged it to my chest. “It’s nothing!”

“Doesn’t look like nothing to me!” he tried to grab the book back but then the raven standing on the dining table caught his attention. “Is that a raven?”

“Yes, but it’s just going!” I shooed the raven out of the open window. The cat came bursting out of my room.

“That cat has got eight legs!” Odell accused. “Hang on, that isn’t even a cat! It’s a horse!”

“Called Sleipnir.”

“Like the horse from Norse mythology?” Odell gaped.

I didn’t see any point in trying to hide from him any longer. “That’s the actual Sleipnir, the raven is Munnin and rune magic really exists.”

“And how do you know all this?”

“I’m a Valkyrie.”


“A Valkyrie.”

“Then what are you doing in suburban Bristol?”

“I’m protecting stuff for Odin.”

Odell fainted, as most people did.


Thanks to The Fake Redhead (link here) who wrote the prompt.


Writing Scripts 3

The Play got finished and entered in the PapaTango New Writing Prize.

The Film has been locked in a drawer and left there.

The TV Script has been abandoned.

On the plus side, I’m writing three musicals and I have, just as I said I probably would, embarked on another play.

I also wrote the script for a short film.

That’s basically it.