Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Do you love soap operas, television, movies, video games, comic books, etc... so much that you want to continue writing stories about your favorite characters and universes after the book has been closed, the television set turned off, the movie theater emptied?

Then you might want to look into the world of tie-in writing, books that are written based on other properties.

The International Association of Media Tie-In Writers has published their first book on the subject, Tied-In: The Business, History and Craft of Media Tie-In Writing.

One chapter, Doing It Daily by Alina Adams, author of Oakdale Confidential, Jonathan's Story, and The Man From Oakdale, deals specifically with the art and craft of writing soap opera tie-ins, both in print and online (; An excerpt:

One of the key differences between writing a stand-alone tie-in and an on-going one is the level of fan interaction.

With “Another World Today” and Mindy’s Twitter, fans have contributed story suggestions, character motivations, and brought favorites back from the dead. (It’s a soap, it’s par for the course.)

On the positive side, it allows for an unprecedented level of interaction, as well as a sense of ownership for the fans.

On the negative, it sets up unreasonable, un-meetable expectations. Remember how you can’t please all of the people all of the time? In some circumstances, votes such as:

POLL: Should Cass help Donna?
Votes for Yes 44%
Votes for No 47%
Votes for Only as long as Felicia never finds out 9%

47% to 44% is pretty darn close! Obviously, half the fans are going to be unhappy whatever we do!

A soap-writing mentor of mine once told me that every individual viewer’s perception of a story or character depends on where they came in to the saga.

If you’ve been watching for 35 years and clearly remember when the leading lady was a scheming villain with no redeemable qualities, you are going to interpret her actions differently than if you only started following fifteen years ago, after she’d been reformed by love, or five years ago, at which point the one-time vixen had become a cookie-baking grandmother. (There is also the challenge of filling newer fans in on a character’s history without pages and pages of exposition. Or having another character offer, “As you know, you once were in love with my husband, you hussy.”)

Depending on where you came in sets up how likely you are to say, “But he/she would NEVER do that!”

The challenge for me is to please all of the above contingents. Or to, at least, convince them that any action our ex-hussy/starry-eyed romantic/grandmother takes is well motivated and perfectly in character.

For more, read an interview with Alina Adams at best-selling romance novelist Kyra Davis' blog:

1 comment:

凱許倫 said...