Writing a series bible

One of the items on my list of things to deliver for this CFC/EOne Adaptation lab this summer is a bible for my TV series. I haven’t really talked about it yet because I’ve been focused on learning how to write for TV, and sharing with you, my lovely followers, the process of taking the Portia Adams Adventures and adapting it for the small screen.

But as I make decisions about characters and their respective arcs, I am adding to a document that will eventually become the series bible. 

As I do this I find that I am adding what might be described as ‘commandments’ that come from my own TV watching.

For example:

Thou shall balance victims between male and female.

This is one of my serious peeves (not a pet one at all). Most cop shows you watch these days feature a majority of victims of the female persuasion. That does not count towards the Bechdel test by the way, just including a gorgeous dead body on the floor is not an acceptable way to include women in your script.

Thou shall avoid stereotypical gender crimes.

Have you ever noticed that every accused husband featured on a program is a cheater? Or that every accused woman is revenging herself on said cheater? Or every good looking woman is too stupid to be careful in her choices? Not here. Not on this TV show. If it’s stereotypical, turn it on its head or drop it.

Thou shall include people of color in non-token rolls

This is especially hard when you’re writing a 1930s pulp fiction, but I am determined to represent the diversity that existed in London at the time. Asher Jenkins is one example of that diversity, but I want to open up the ally, victim and suspect lists to include all colors and backgrounds. I actually need to do this more in the books as well.

What do you guys think? Do you have some commandments to add to my TV bible?

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5 thoughts on “Writing a series bible

  1. How about “Thou shall not have unrealistically fast timelines”?

    Few things turn me off a detective or crime series as when the characters are able to more things than humanly possible in a span of time or show no signs of exhaustion after 18 hours straight work or be able to get results in hours for something that the science behind a process should take days or weeks.

    • Ah ha! I’d LOVE to say yes to this one, but 90% of my notes back from EOne on my pilot are to escalate the pace and tension. I was told flat-out that a one-hour episode cannot span more than two days.

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