Writing is no longer confined to novels or blogs – it has grown beyond that. When there are so many platforms and avenues available to a writer, how do you master the art of writing for mediums such as print, digital and TV? Read more to find out!

On 24th March, 2018, in a brand new session of #BlogchatterWritFest we had Anand Neelakantan (@itsanandneel), author who introduced and popularized the counter-telling of mythological tales in Indian literature, for an hour long twitter chat on ‘Writing For Different Mediums.’  A writer for leading television shows himself, Anand discussed the screenwriting scene in India, and what it takes to be a columnist, novelist and a scriptwriter.

Below is a recap of the chat.

The chat, as always, began with five questions on the topic for the first 30 minutes, followed by an open house, wherein the participants had the chance to ask their own questions to the guest.

The session began with the participants talking about a show or a movie they think is particularly well-written. Anand had Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad and Narcos in his list. He preferred Malayalam movies for their great story-lines. We had other names like The Silicon Valley, Anand, Angoor, IT-the movie, etc. also making the rounds.

The next question focused on one basic difference between writing for TV and writing a novel. Anand offered here that TV in India is about daily soaps, hence it’s for the masses. It has to satisfy all, wherein TRP comes into picture. Then again, writing for TV is essentially team work with script writers, story writers, dialogue writers and entire production unit including actors. Richa (@richa_singh) shared her opinion that TV is a lot more functional and involves various factors that depend on the actual execution, while novel is more dreamy and one can singularly create a piece from their own imagination. The writer can add a trip to Mars without worrying about the cost of production, she added.

The discussion moved forward to charting out one basic difference between writing a novel and writing a column. Ravish (@ravishmani) replied that one is fiction and the other, non-fiction. Pooja (@SoulVersified) said that a novel cannot be about everything under the sun, unless it is something like Shantaram, whereas a column can deal with a specific current affair and can be highly opinionated. Anand (@itsanandneel) stressed that a column has to be relevant, short and precise; it needs more logic than emotion. It works on strict deadlines. Novels, on the other hand, have a vast canvas.

Next, the Twitterati engaged in offering the perfect recipe for creating an unforgettable show. The perfect ingredients ranged from emotion, suspense, simple plot, setting, smart execution, to realistic character portrayal, fast pace, good scene to scene pacing, and dialogues. When Rashi (@Rashi_AMital) asked that some TV shows are lacking in pace and story-line, and are still continuing in prime time for years, Anand offered that it is perhaps working well for its target audience. Richa (@richa_singh) said a story connects through well-etched characters, so the same applies for TV shows as well.

The final question in the chat session asked which of the three was more challenging: writing a show, column or a novel and the reason behind that. The general consensus said shows or movies were the most challenging, as it involves expectation of public and many team members working together. Pooja (@SoulVersified) said that in shows and films, losses, if and when they happen are huge, and sometimes one bad film destroys many careers altogether. Rashi (@rashi_AMital) said that in TV shows, the need to change the story can arise overnight too, making it most unpredictable and hence challenging.

Here is a small snippet from the open house:

The chat session ended on an enthusiastic note, with lots of knowledge shared, and wisdom collected.

Writing for Different Mediums Twitter Chat with Anand Neelakantan was one of our sessions at Blogchatter Writing Festival. We have many more different author-sessions planned ahead under this. You can screenshot the below schedule: