The Dreaded Series Outline

Welcome back to another blog! It’s been WAY too long. Since I’ve just finished writing a draft for an assignment/showcase due in May, thought the best way to try and recover is write a blog. Why not? So this blog is about Series Outlines. They’re horrible to try and write, but if you get the structure down, you might get through unscathed. Let’s get right into it.

START IT OFF PROPERLY

So, the first bit you need to know about putting the first words on this one page only document is to ensure you make it clear what is being told. This is the example I will give so you know what I mean.

Locksford by Abbie Allen – Crime Drama TV Series of 3 episodes

Logline: Not everything a new PC sees in a Birmingham suburbs police station is the truth

So the title and the name of the writer are in bold. Then you explain what genre the series is and how many episodes you intend the series to be. It’s also a great idea, no matter how horrible the process may be, to get some kind of logline on there, just so they know what your piece is about.

SECTION ONE- THE WORLD

This is the first bit you need to put in next. You need to give a little bit of info about the world you want to tell them about. It is likely to be a bigger paragraph or more if you’re doing a Sci-Fi or Dystopian. Then you have to explain what happened to the world and how it got into its current state. Luckily, mine was just about a police station in Birmingham. This is the example I’ll give.

“Lizzy Reading, the youngest of her family, makes the decision to join Locksford Police Station against her family’s wishes. With determination to follow in her dead brother, Sergeant Neil Reading’s, steps it pushes Lizzy to believe in the impossible. The four year anniversary of Neil’s death gets closer and Lizzy is confused why her family turned their backs on Lizzy and Neil. Emotions bubble to the surface as Lizzy starts to behave like Neil and their mother, Elizabeth Hendy-Reading, tries to persuade Lizzy to change career.”

So this would set the world up for the reader to understand what is going on.

SECTION TWO- CHARACTERS/PROTAGONIST EMOTIONS/OBSTACLES/RESOLUTION

The gloriously long but narrative-led section. This is where you try to introduce your characters whilst also move the narrative on to reveal the bumpy journey your characters go on. It may be a long section, but it can be worth it if you can get it done well. This is the one from my project, LOCKSFORD.

“Ignoring the threats from her own family to leave the force, Lizzy turns up for work to discover her father, Superintendent Michael Reading, has been creating a reputation on brute force and deception. Unsure what to believe, Lizzy starts to put her trust in Inspector Dale ‘Becker’ Beckett and PC Nicky Penn. Whispers and looks of disgust are pointing in Lizzy’s direction, but are put to bed by intervention from DI Melissa Hemming, DC Leon Boulder and DC Natalie ‘Tash’ Price. Whilst a new team is formed, tensions rise from Tash about Lizzy, worried what Neil told Lizzy about her, his girlfriend at the time of his death.

As Lizzy tries to settle into her new environment, she finds not everyone plays by the rules. Coming across her supervising officer, Sergeant Max Strong, Lizzy must decide who she puts her trust in and what she will do to stay alive. During her first week as a probationary PC, Lizzy is paired with Nicky, known as the ‘Master Puppy-walker’ due to his career spanning close to thirty years and puppy-walking all the new recruits. Tash and Leon stumble across an armed robbery, leading them straight to a drug dealer. With trouble brewing round the case Lizzy, Nicky and Melissa are pulled in for assistance. Just when they think it can’t get any worse, Lizzy recognises the drug dealer as an associate of Michael’s. Becker is drafted in and all officers in the inner circle are on red alert for danger pointing straight at Lizzy. After a raid on the drug dealer’s house goes wrong, questions emerge of who is involved and what parts they have to play in the events circling Locksford.

Whilst Lizzy battles with her new job, Elizabeth battles with her conscience on what the family is up to behind Lizzy’s back. Through Elizabeth’s leisure centre, Michael has been using it for a front to cover his dealings away from the nick. Their remaining son, Dan, is also up to his neck in it, not giving Elizabeth a way out or a way to keep Lizzy safe.

Returning home to gather herself after her first day at work, Lizzy finds a letter in one of Neil’s books. With new information Neil had left her before he died, she starts to doubt Neil is actually dead. Taking a week to contemplate the new information before talking to the team, Lizzy starts to get letters and notes at work in the same hand as Neil. Finally caving and confiding in the team, they try to figure out whether the rumours Neil’s death had been fake or not. As Tash starts to receive threats putting Leon in danger, she struggles to decide what to do between keeping quiet about what she knows or putting Lizzy out of her misery and telling her the truth.

Just when the case looks hopeless, Lizzy and Tash catch onto a new lead after another associate of Michael’s is found murdered in his flat. The duo check out a flagged up warehouse full of bags shoved full of white powder. Just when they think they have found the jackpot of evidence both of them are caught in an explosion, knocking them off course from finding out the truth.

As Elizabeth’s conscience starts to take over, she makes the choice to tell Lizzy what has been going on and what she knew about Neil’s death. Elizabeth and Michael butt heads about their daughter, but Michael’s approach petrifies Elizabeth enough to stand up for their daughter in her hour of need. Michael’s dealings come to light and his reputation is torn to shreds as the facts surface. Distraught at the shambles her family have become, Lizzy goes home to find Neil waiting for her, asking her for help before collapsing into her arms.”

So you see, this is an example, but different series need structure in a different way.

So I wish you luck in writing your own and maybe, you never know, it may just be a help to pin down the main points of your series.

Love,

Abbie Allen

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