TV Series Story Telling with Yvonne Grace
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TV Series Story Telling with Yvonne Grace

TV Series Story Telling with Yvonne Grace

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Ealing Studios

Ealing Green


W5 5EP

United Kingdom

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SERIES STORY TELLING or How To Control Your Storylines and Make Them Work For You

We are living and working in a Golden Time for Television Drama: The People v OJ Simpson. The Night Manager. Happy Valley. The Good Wife. Better Call Saul, to name just a few examples of the fabulous drama available for us to view on a myriad of platforms.

The Series Drama is very much where it is at both creatively and commercially and writers wanting to contribute to this exciting Bouillabaiss need to get their heads’ around telling compelling stories across more than one episode.

This workshop run over two days, is designed for all writers who want to learn how to handle the longer run narrative; how to make their story lines work for them and deliver great, engaging, compelling drama.


What Makes a Great Story Line?

Here art meets artifice. Successful storylines do the following:

  • Attack from a visual angle

  • Engage from a human angle

  • Connect and involve as many other characters as possible

  • Create turmoil for the character/s out of which they learn something about themselves

  • Have a message to promote/present to a wider audience

Using examples from shows Yvonne has Produced (Holby City/ EastEnders) and a series of clips from popular UK shows; Happy Valley. Holby City, she will cover the essential components of a cracking series story line:

  • Narrative Stretch

  • Character development - creating narrative arcs

  • The Angle

  • Character creating plot

  • Text and subtext working together

  • Subtext and making connections

  • The geography of the story and how this makes more story

The Structure of a Series Story Line, here Yvonne will cover:

  • Plot Points or Beats

  • Plot Twist

  • A B and C stories

  • The shape and structure of an episode of Holby City and also that of EastEnders

Lots of information backed up with actual examples of series airing today, we get under the skin of popular drama. Day one will end with Yvonne assigning homework in the form of this practical exercise:

HOMEWORK: Digging Out the Story Line and Ideintifying the Subtext

  • Watch that night’s episode of EastEnders.

  • Take a single character or a group of characters and extract their storyline from the body of the episode scene by scene.

  • Write it out in broad strokes. Roughly a paragraph per scene.

  • Now note the connections; where these story lines impact on another. Note how this changes the story line.

  • Note how the character affects and is affected by their storyline.

Identifying the Subtext:

  • Now that you have the text, or the plot related beats drawn out for the storyline you have chosen consider now, the subtext.

  • This time, identify what you believe to be the motivating drive underneath the action you saw on screen for your character/s. Describe this arc in roughly a paragraph per scene.

  • Note how the subtext affects the text and vice versa.


Mapping The Characther Journey – How story line works with character

Using the example of story lines we extracted from last night's episode of EastEnders Yvonne poses the questions that each delegate can consider for themselves in specific regard to the characters and their arcs.

  • Has this character changed in this episode?

  • What have they learned?

  • Has their behaviour had an impact on any other character?

We also consider and ask the question, how does the story line help the development of this character? Identify the ways it does this. For example, does the story line bring out a strength, a weakness, reveal the character’s inner desire?

The Characthers In A Series Storyline:

In this final section of the Masterclass Yvonne will cover what series characters will need to do in a successful series drama:

  • Service their story line and move the plot forward

  • Present a strong subtext

  • Keep us learning new things about them as they go along their journey

  • Aid the understanding and development of other characters.


Industry professionals:

‘Yvonne gave me my first break in television. She was my first teacher, my first producer and a key person in my script editing training. She has a passion for long running series, thinks outside the box and is prepared to take risks’.
Elaine Pyke, Sky Atlantic Channel Director

‘Yvonne offers invaluable, insightful and applicable advice for TV writers’
Persephone Vandegrift, Writer

‘Yvonne is an inspirational teacher’
Jean Maye, Writer

Workshop attandees:

'I am impressed by Yvonne’s intuition, intelligence and rigour as a script editor’ writer.'
John Abulafia

'I’ve just started Yvonne Grace’s online course, since treatments are my nemeis…Loving her approach, this is what I need. So far having so much fun – with structure!'
Rachel Smith, Writer

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Ealing Studios

Ealing Green


W5 5EP

United Kingdom

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