Inspiration from Sitcoms: Connecting the Dots – Lesson II of V

By: Ebonye Gussine Wilkins

You can read part one here.

A good sitcom connects the dots. The way that a well-written sitcom accomplishes this is by having a big running joke during the duration of the show that slowly builds on little details that are scattered throughout the episode. If you were paying attention the entire time, you’ll not only appreciate the little jokes here and there but you will get a big belly laugh by the time the show it over. I love it when a sitcom connects the dots.

So what does that mean for you as a writer?

It means that you need to make every word count. Most sitcoms are 23 minutes long (omitting commercials) which means that they cannot waste words. There are no written unnecessary details, at least not written ones. Less important details or extra jokes are shown with props. Every word that is written moves the story forward, and connects with other relevant information that you already know.

What does it boil down to? When it is done correctly, you get a funny show that uses all the characters and plot points in the most efficient ways.

How well does your writing connect the dots?

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