I previously did a post about what it might be like to tell stories set in the universe of another person’s creation. Now originally, I had considered the ever-growing “Star Wars” universe as a rare example of an ongoing narrative effort from several different storytellers. What I hadn’t considered at the time is how it actually can be a common practice to write for another person’s universe; especially in the world of TV writing.
Earlier this month, I applied for a writing program for a television network, and one of the requirements is to choose a show from a long list of them provided and write a spec script based on it. I was fortunate to find one on there was I was not only very familiar with, but it’s also one that I’ve had a little dream to write an episode for someday.
What I’ve discovered from this experience is that when writing in another person’s universe and using their characters, all that alone takes away the pressure from starting from scratch and creating new ones of your own. Instead, a new pressure takes its place, where it’s to be as authentic to the characters as possible; in terms of how they speak, their mannerisms, how they would react in certain situations, and more.
You also want to stay true to both the genre and the format of the episodes as well. That’s kind of a given in all honesty, for if you’re writing for a universe, it doesn’t make sense to suddenly go off the rails. For example, if you’re writing for a half hour sitcom that contains both A and B stories, you don’t want to write an hour long episode with no existing B story and it’s tonally more fitting for a drama. Stay true to what you’re writing for and make it complement the universe.
Above all else, in writing this spec script, while I kept who and what I was writing for in mind and to stay true to the formula of the show’s episodes, I was able to allow myself room to play. I was able to create a story that, I believe, was very fitting in this universe. Along with keeping the characters authentic to who they are, I also allowed myself room to explore different aspects of some of them that haven’t been seen before. In other words, I was able to infuse some of what was already there with my own spin on things and still match the tone of the overall show (or at least in my mind, I did). I wasn’t sure if I would be able to do it, and yet I emerged triumphantly.
Keep in mind that this was just a spec script I wrote. It’s not part of the official canon of the chosen show. It’s just to demonstrate my ability to write for television for the writing program that I applied for. Apart from proving to myself that I have the ability to write for another person’s universe, I also began taking my first steps towards becoming a screenwriter. It’s a thrilling sensation!
So to the best of my ability to comprehend, that is how it is to write for another person’s universe. In regards to this spec script, I await to see if it was enough to prove myself for the writing program.
An Absolute Mind is now available for purchase on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, CreateSpace, iBooks, Kobo, Smashwords, etc. If you read it, please leave a review, for they’re greatly appreciated and help me grow as a writer. Also, be sure to check out its Goodreads page, and feel free to leave any questions you have about the book.