Relentless Forward Motion

It's shaping up to be 'Interview Lee Week." The first of my three-part interview with Booklife is up today. Here's an excerpt:

And, along those same lines, what has writing for television taught you about writing novels?

Lee Goldberg: I think that being a screenwriter, particularly for TV, has made me a much better novelist. You have to write outlines for TV, so it has forced me to focus on plot before I start writing my books. I’m not figuring things out as I go along as some authors do. I know exactly where I am going…though I may change how I get there along the way.
Being a TV writer has also trained me to focus on a strong, narrative drive, to make sure that every line of dialogue either reveals character or advances the plot (or both), and to cut anything that’s extraneous or bogs the story down.  I also suspect that being a TV writer has given my books a faster pace and more of a cinematic structure.

Have you picked up any habits–good or bad–writing for television that you had to unlearn or put aside when writing novels?

Lee Goldberg: Not really, but if I have a bad habit, it may be the need to have a relentless, forward motion to the story. In TV, you cut anything that’s the least bit extraneous to keep the story moving and to keep your episode within your allotted running time. With books, I have to remind myself that it’s okay to take time out to contemplate a moment, an experience, or a place…but only if it’s a moment.


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