From The Writers' Room Featuring Bookburners

Margaret Dunlap on writing Bookburners S3E2: “Faces of the Beast”

After two years writing Bookburners, Max, Mur, Andrea, Brian, and I have a pretty good feel for it. We know the characters, we know about how much story fits in an episode, and we have a similar instinct for what a “Bookburners” story is and what it isn’t. Which is why, when we got together for the season three summit, we decided early on that we wanted to push ourselves this year. To take off the traction control, lean into the accelerator, and see what this baby could really do.

Which led directly to the pitch that became the logline for the second episode of the season: Two Kaiju at Once. It might be the perfect high-concept pitch. Simple enough to condense into a sentence, but at the same time tantalizingly obscure. As always, the devil (or in this case, the hydra) is in the details.

In my initial notes, I had planned for the hydra and the Spain crisis (which wasn’t werewolves yet) to somehow meet. But as I got deeper into my outline, it realized it was a layer of complexity I didn’t need. Words spent explaining how Menchú and Liam passed through a quasi-trans-dimensional space to meet Grace in the belly of a hydra at the center of the earth were words that I couldn’t spend on what the heart of the episode was really about: Grace and why she had made the choice revealed at the end of the previous episode. Her absence is one of the key mysteries of the season premiere, and the second episode had to be her chance to take the spotlight.

(Though, if you squint, the spirit of: “My kaiju, and your kaiju…? Are the same f*cking kaiju!” remains.)

Two episodes in. Eleven more to go. Buckle up everybody.

Other Thoughts:

Writing Grace and Sal banter…never not fun. Even (especially?) when one of them really doesn’t want to banter.

I did not make up the legend of the Wolf of Gubbio; although, there is no record I could find of any part of the skeleton migrating to Spain.

If you ever need to know what’s on the other side of the planet, I recommend: www.antipodesmap.com. Also, it’s a good way to kill a couple hours when you should be writing.

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