How to Write a Soap Opera Story

Written by ehow arts & entertainment editor
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You've been glued to daytime drama for years, and now you think you could write for your favorite soap opera. It seems like all you need to do is take your favorite characters and find new ways for them to stab each other in the back, have elicit affairs and then blame everything on someone else. Could you really be a soap opera writer? You never know until you try.

Skill level:

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    Creating the Story

  1. 1

    Know the basic details of the soap opera you will write for. This includes the setting of the show and the main characters.

  2. 2

    Watch the show to see what storylines are currently running. You'll probably need your story to go along. If your story goes in another direction, it will need a good transition from the current story.

  3. 3

    Create the basic storyline. The favorites usually include love triangles, heated fights within families, vicious competition between businesses and dark secrets from the past.

  4. 4

    Create the conflicts for each character. Determine who's going to cheat on who, who's going to lose their memory or get a brain tumor, whose long-lost child is going to return (grown up in just three years) and who's being blackmailed by a mysterious stranger.

    Writing the Story

  1. 1

    Determine how long the story will last. A good one will take weeks, giving only tidbits of new information in one day.

  2. 2

    Write the story outline for each day's show. These are known as "breakdowns." One outline usually runs fifteen pages long and is detailed enough to list each scene's time of day.

  3. 3

    Write the story script. Remember that it should be in screenplay format, using the correct script elements and scene heading. Read up on the rules of screenplay writing for this.

  4. 4

    Submit your story to the producers of the show and hope for the best. The worst they can do is just say no.

Tips and warnings

  • Knowing the historical background of characters is a must. If you don't know where all the characters came from, you could easily write in a love story between two relatives.
  • Soap operas require fresh material five days a week with no rerun period. Writing for such a show requires great creativity.

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