Scott Clifton’s reply to a frustrated fan (General Discussion)

by TeamWivyQueric, Friday, March 15, 2019, 2:22PM (70 days ago) @ Curiosity12

A fan asked why the writers don’t listen to fans and put Beth back with Hope.

Scott replied

The writers know what you want. But sometimes what fans want doesn’t make for good storytelling.

Art and literature isn’t about making your favorite characters happy; it’s about making you, the audience, *feel* something.

And in this case, it’s clearly working!

Do you agree or disagree?

I understand what he's saying - some fans are regularly expressing that they want all conflict resolved and everybody happy. (Get rid of the villains, put all the couples back together, etc.). That has always perplexed me. What will there be to watch when that happens? I don't want to see the characters sitting around the breakfast table talking about the weather and what errands they are going to run today.

However, I also don't think what B&B does qualifies as "good" storytelling either. Well written soaps can drag out stories for a year or more and still keep the viewers engaged. B&B has much shorter story arcs than other soaps in general and yet they seem 3 times as long. Why is that? Well because they aren't really very good at it. They tell one story at a time for days on end. Not only do we see the main characters involved in the ONE story they are telling every single day, but we have to see other characters standing around doing nothing but talking about what we just saw yesterday, the day before, and last week with those same few characters. It feels like watching the story play out again and again 15 more times after the first time we saw it. This problem could be partially alleviated by being able to have more than one story going at a time. If you have multiple stories in different stages, you don't get so frustrated by a story being stuck in the "middle" stage for too long because theoretically there should be another story in beginning stages and another one that is nearing the end and being close to resolution.

And I believe B&B would see less frustration on part of the viewers if they could learn to stop dropping everything else for weeks and months at a time to drag out just ONE story.

I think your post is on point. I understand B&B is only 19 minutes long but that is NO excuse not to have multiple storylines. You could easily have two big storylines moving forward concurrently with a smaller one as "supporting" to ensure a maximum number of cast members are engaged in some way. You have 5 days a week - you could divide the weeks up where you focus a few days on 1 big story and the next couple of days on the other one and make the switch where it makes most sense. You could then stick the smaller story where you need fillers. In the old days B&B actually managed to pull it off so it's not that it can't be done. It's that the writers are awfully lazy.
I think it also needs to be said that B&B writing is god awful. I mean atrocious. So many nonsensical plot points, repetitive inconsistent dialogue and then dropped stories or sudden changes of direction. And then every once in a while they randomly kill off a character like Aly or Caroline but it is again just a means to support a plot rather than a storyline of its own with lasting repercussions. And then of course the lack of balance in character utilisation. I think there was an article comparing the four soaps and B&B was found to be by fa the most lopsided. That also affects storytelling quality.

Everything about the writing is just bad. You can tell there is no long term story planning because sometimes they accidentally start with the makings of a good story and then Bell decides after a few weeks that he wants to focus elsewhere and suddenly a story that has been previously dragged out is ended very abruptly and usually unsatisfactorily because Bell decided he didn't know what else to do and wasn't interested anymore.

The dialogue writing - awful. Repetitive and unimaginative. The best I can say about it is that they occasionally come up with some good one liners. That's on their best day.

They need to clean house in the writing department and start over. And the new team needs to sit down and draw out a long term plan. Come up with 3 story arcs, lay out the timeline for all three so that they aren't all ending at the same time, figure out the outline for the beginning, middle and end of each story and what else that story is going to segue into when it nears the end. Make a list of all your contract actors (there aren't that many) and make sure they are all tied into one of those three stories in some way.

For people who get paid to do this full time for a living this should not only not be that much to ask but it should be the minimum requirement.

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