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    From: (Jms at B5)
 Subject: JMS: Writing changes?
    Date: 8/6/1995 6:20:00 PM  

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Every show is on deadline, to one extent or another. As for the

It's hard to say. I know that my style has changed somewhat since
B5 began, and the approach I take *to* the writing has changed a bit, but
it's a very hard thing to put into words. It's like learning a new
little trick during're not quite sure where it came from, it's
still the same concept, but something about it works a little better for

In one way, because it's my own show, I'm no longer having to yoke
myself to somebody else's conception. Whenever you're working for a
writer/producer above you, a certain measure of your time is spent in
second-guessing, however much you may also be trying to expand that
character at the same time. "

"Okay, I'm going to go this far, but I know if I go *too* far, the
guy's gonna lean on me, say the character wouldn't do that, and I'll have
to go back and restructure."

So that problem doesn't exist for me now. In some ways, it's given
me greater latitude and confidence, but at the same time it's caused me to
be *much* more intensely critical in examining my own work. I know that
creatively, I'm pretty much out on my own here, and if I don't take great
care to be sure that the work is up to par, there's nobody to backstop it
above me. "With great power comes great responsibility." Peter Parker.

Probably the main thing that's happened is that I've grown slowly
comfortable enough with things to begin taking real chances; doing scenes
without any dialogue whatsoever (the Emperor's fall in "Coming," certain
long segments of "Twilight"), and some fairly intense monologues; it's let
me be free enough to do some radical stuff visually, to stretch to the
limits of what I think I can do.

What happens, if you're a writer who cares about your work, is that
you write along at one level for a certain amount of time, you hit a
plateau, this is as good as you are...but you keep poking at the edges,
and after a while you get frustrated, because your reach is exceeding your
grasp, and you know this should be *better* than it is, but you don't quite
know why, or where, you can't conceptualize it...then suddenly you break
through the ceiling, to another level, and your writing changes from that
point on...until the next time.

I'm very aware of having gone through several of those since starting
the B5 series.


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