A long interview with Rob Thomas, creator of Veronica Mars, has appeared at TV w/out Pity. (Aside: when will TVWP make its website act like it's 2007? Loading 20 pages to read one interview verges on obscene.) I haven't read the whole thing yet but RT begins with a discussion of how each episode is written. This relates to an article of mine about television storytelling called "From Beats to Arcs: Toward a Poetics of Television Narrative"; here is a pdf). Thomas talks about working backwards from suspense-building "act outs" (the scenes that end with a commercial break), which is something I discuss in my article. In a nutshell, I argue that TV storytelling exploits television's need to break for commercials to craft norms of exposition and dramatic development around the commercial breaks. The medium's detractors might consider the commercial breaks an aesthetic liability; I argue that television writers have turned this constraint into an opportunity to make their stories more engaging.

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