Freelance Writers Can Learn from the Soap Opera One Life to Live

Jessica Buchanan

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You may think that you can’t learn from watching TV, especially soap operas, but you can. Since I’m interested in writing for TV and films, I watch television programs and movies. I’m enjoying One Life to Live which can be watched at your convenience at The writing is hilarious when it comes to the Jessica/Tess Buchanan Brennan storyline. Jessica suffers from multiple personalities (this isn’t funny) and one of her alter egos is Tess, a fast talking, party type of gal who’s extremely different from Jessica. Jessica/Tess is played brilliantly by Bree Williamson who delivers the lines with gusto. As an actress, she’s very lucky that the writing is spot on! I’m quite certain she’ll receive an Emmy nomination and win for her performance. One Life to Live draws viewers each week because the writing is very good. Therefore, freelance writers’ can learn a few pointers from this long-time fan favorite soap opera.

Writing for television is different from writing blogs, articles, fiction, and non-fiction. However, the commonality is writing. Your writing will fall flat if it doesn’t resonate with your target audience. If you’re interested in becoming a #1 Freelance Writer or #1 Ghost Writer, your writing must impact business owners and readers. What emotions will be felt? What message are you trying to get across? What will make them want to pick up the phone and call you to be their freelance writer? It’s important to be mindful of the style, tone, and voice of your writing.

All business owners and publishers are not the same. Some may look for humor in your writing while another will require a more serious tone. It depends on the target audience. Please remember that! Not every client will want a funny blog post or article. For example, your client could be a medical doctor specializing in cancer research. The tone of your blogs and articles will be professional and to the point with an undercurrent of compassion. Freelance writers remember that all target markets are not the same.

If you want to stretch yourself as a freelance writer, watch TV shows and movies. Pay attention to character development and dialogue. Think of your blogs, articles, brochures, bios, newsletters, and other writings as characters. How will you develop them? What can you do to make them come to life? How can you get the ‘target audience’ to feel emotion? How can you write effortlessly and make the words flow and leap across the page? Ponder these and other questions while you watch television shows and movies. You’ll be surprise how your writing improves. Who says watching TV can’t be educational?



Did you know that soap opera actresses and actors shoot 100 pages or more per day? This is why James Franco, who guest starred on General Hospital, stretched himself as an actor. Of course, it probably helped his writing (he published a book) and schooling as well.

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  1. Good points! I’m a freelance writer who loves movies and TV! My dream is to move to LaLa Land and sell my screenplays.

  2. Thanks for reading and commenting on! L.A. is very cool as is California. There’s nothing likes seeing the Kodak Theater and dreaming of one day picking up your Oscar for best original screenplay. It could happen.

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