Crafty TV Writing Thinking Inside the Box

Alex Epstein

Holt Paperbacks



Trade Paperback

352 Pages



Request Desk Copy Request Exam Copy

Everyone watches television, and everyone has an opinion on what makes good TV. But, as Alex Epstein shows in this guide, writing for television is a highly specific craft that requires knowledge, skill, and more than a few insider's tricks.

Epstein, a veteran TV writer and show creator himself, provides knowledge and insight about the entire process of television writing, both for beginners and for professionals who want to go to the next level. Crafty TV Writing explains how to decode the hidden structure of a TV series, describing the best ways to generate a hook, write an episode, create characters the audience will never tire of, construct entertaining dialogue, and use humor. It shows how to navigate the tough but rewarding television industry, from writing your first "spec" script, to getting hired to work on a show, to surviving—even thriving—if you get fired. And it illuminates how television writers think about the shows they are writing, whether they are working in comedy, drama, or "reality."


Praise for Crafty TV Writing

"No need for me to ever write a book on TV writing. Alex Epstein has covered it all . . . along with a few things I wouldn't have thought of. Save yourself five years of rookie mistakes. Crafty TV Writing and talent are pretty much all you'll need to make it."—Ken Levine, writer/producer, MASH, Cheers, Frasier, The Simpsons, Wings, Becker

"An essential guide for those hoping to break into television writing . . . Enlightening and straightforward, this is a must for anyone who wants to write for television."—Kristine Huntley, Booklist

Reviews from Goodreads



Read an Excerpt


Why You Want to Write TV

When I was first coming up in the biz, movie writers looked down at TV writers. "If this doesn't work out," they'd say, "there's always TV." TV writers had an inferiority complex: "I'd love...

Read the full excerpt


  • Alex Epstein

  • Alex Epstein is the author of Crafty Screenwriting. He has worked as a development executive, television story editor, and television writer for more than a decade. He cocreated the comic drama series Naked Josh, and was head writer for the science fiction series Charlie Jade. A graduate of Yale University and the UCLA School of Film and Television, he writes the popular blog Complications Ensue,

  • Alex Epstein