Six Scenes with a View of Writing Soaps

Van Hansis (Luke) Photo

As some of you are well aware, I casually mentioned to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that I was considering writing a fan-driven epilogue to As The World Turns’ Luke and Noah story, and Twitter hell broke loose.

Some Nukes were incensed – why did I want muck up a perfectly good ending?

Some Lures were insulted – did I have to twist the knife?

I was hurt and ready to shuck the whole thing.  Until…

In my book, How Did You Get That Job?, I write about growing up with an alcoholic father, and what happened when he stole my money for college. I made the best of it and graduated with a BFA from Carnegie Mellon University.

When I tried to get in the door at Guiding Light as a director, I heard “not now” practically every week for six months. I made the best of it, and ended up working in an industry I love on one of the best soaps ever, for 5½ years.

When I was fired from As the World Turns as an Associate Head Writer in 2002, I made the best of it, and was rehired as a script writer five days later.

How Do We Make the Best of This?

How could I turn this Luke/Noah debacle around so that I kept my commitment to those who had expressed enthusiasm for the project, and make it exciting (instead of painful) for me?

By pleasing myself. I love writing drama, and I love teaching people how to write better drama. So why not use these scenes as a creative teaching tool? That’s how Six Scenes with a View of Writing Soaps was born.

Six Scenes with a View of Writing Soaps


We’ll take this particular day’s Luke/Noah six-scene story arc and follow it through each soap writing step:

  • Basic action of what will happen during the scenes. Add notes from the head writer and other breakdown writers and that becomes…
  • The unrevised breakdown. Add notes from the network, sponsor, executive producer, head writer, breakdown writers, and that becomes…
  • The revised breakdown. Add notes from the executive producer, head writer, producers, script editor, and that becomes…
  • The unedited script. Add notes from the editor, and that becomes…
  • The edited script. Add further input from the producers, directors, designers, and actors, and those are the words you hear on the air.

Who’s the network executive, sponsor, executive producer, and head writer in this scenario? That would be you.

I’d get your input and write accordingly – giving you real-world tips about dealing with exposition, story structure, dialogue, etc., as we go along.

Be you Nuke or Lure or just someone who’s interested in becoming a better writer in any medium or genre, this course is for you.

For those of you who don’t know the As the World Turns history of these characters, check out Luke and Noah at (If any of the fans have links for more complete bios, please feel free to add them in comments.)

How valuable do I think this will be? When it’s all said and done, I’ll be compiling a package that I will sell for $47 – and it’ll be worth easily twice that.

But if you sign up for the course, and participate as much or as little as you like, you’ll get the package for free: Scenes, notes, tips, interactive webinar and all.

That’s my gift to you, future writers, soap fans and, most importantly, ATWT fans who kept the world turning via your passion and devotion to us for over fifty years.

Are you up for it?

If the answer is yes, sign up here, and get started by adding your contributions to the first step!

About Susan Dansby

Susan Dansby has received four Emmy® Awards and two Writers Guild Awards for her work on the soap opera, AS THE WORLD TURNS. She is the author of HOW DID YOU GET THAT JOB? MY DREAM JOBS AND HOW THEY CAME TRUE.
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