Cover to Cover #374A: Robert J. Sawyer

Discussion: Michael and Summer continue the discussion from last week about the new Apple products touched upon (or rumored about) from the September 2009 Apple Special Event

It's all about untying yourself from your desktop without losing any power, functionality or flexibility.

Listener Review: Web Genii brings us an overview and review of FastForward 2 edited by Lou Anders

Interview: Rob Sawyer joins to mainly talk about the differences between writing for television and film, and writing for novels and short stories.

His novel, FlashForward, was picked up as a TV series, premiering on ABC-TV on this week, and he talks about the differences in pacing, writing style and the different needs that have to be met with a screenplay as compared to what's needed in a manuscript.

We talk about successful and not-so-successful adaptations, and how the writer should not take it upon themselves to direct the director or actors in the language of the screenplay. Reading older scripts and newer scripts can be a fascinating exercise in the evolution of scriptwriting and storytelling for film and television over the decades.

Rob recommends Writing for the TV Drama Series by Pamela Douglas for anyone interested in getting into writing for television, and Summer has been reading Write to TV: Out of Your Head and onto the Screen by Martie Cook, and Crafty TV Writing: Thinking Inside the Box by Alex Epstein.

Submitting Listener comments: If you have any suggestions or comments, please let us know!

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Link: FlashForward: The Novel


  1. Possibly the best show yet. (I've caught only about one year of this Cover to Cover.) It's a bit odd, as I like Mr. Stackpole's input a lot. On this occasion, his absence may have been for the best. Worth a first-time donation, anyway.

  2. Great interview!

  3. Out of publishing range for a review - but worthy of a mention. Just finished "The Arcanum" by Janet Gleeson. One would think that a book covering the history of porcelain making in Europe would be a dusty dry tome - but it isn't. Possibly due to the fact that all the players were batshit crazy ( a phrase the author has too much dignity to use ). Highly recommended.

  4. I'm not too hot about the ipod-touch xxl thing. especially for writing. Why put up with a virtual keyboard? I can go out and write wherever I want with my 13" macBook right now. The problem isn't mobility, it isn't size, it's light.
    Could you ever read what's on your screen on an averagely sunny day? Even in the shaddow? So I sit on my sofa anywaly. What I'm really waiting for is a multy purpose device with a full feature keyboad that boots fast and has e-ink quality contrasts. Then I'll go out and write on a park bench!

    Otherwise: Great show, great Interview, great look into screenwriting.

  5. Chris From Poland says

    Regarding Robert J. Sawyer's comments on scripts, I work as a translator and sometimes I get MGM scripts to translate from to create subtitles for movies in my native language. And indeed, most of the scripts from the 80's have more than enough information in them. Apart from the dialogues, they feature camera movements, set descriptions, comments on acting etc - lots of wishful thinking on the part of the scriptwriters. These days it's less common.