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A friend of mine surprised me in my inbox with a fun question about Fleabag.  Specifically, what did I think the emotional and literal questions were for the series.

It's a great question because it's important to recognize that your show must have both - not just your pilot... your entire series.

If you haven't yet read my post "The Most Important Thing You Need to Understand Before Writing a Pilot"...   do it!

In terms of television structure, if you do your research you will read a lot about the new form of television ushered in first by paid cable and now by streaming services... the three act structure over a season long arc that goes something like this:

Episodes 1-3: Act One

Episodes 4-6: Act Two building action

Episodes 7-9: Act Two rising/ascending action  to climax

Episodes 10-13: Climax /descending action to resolution plus REVERSAL (if there is more than one season).

This is a very general look at this paradigm and is adjusted continuously based on the number of episodes being written for the season.

You will find varying forms of this structure all over the far ends of the internet with examples of how the best shows utilize it.

What is far less talked about is how the best shows not only follow a three act structure but they incorporate a literal and emotional question for the entire arc of the show.... AND per each episode.

Full disclosure I have not watched the entire Fleabag series. I have only read the pilot. So boo on me.  But certainly here are the questions for the pilot:

Literal Question:

Can Fleabag save her failing business?

Emotional Question:

Can Fleabag become the strong feminist society is telling her she's supposed to be... subsequently overcoming all of her emotional problems caused by death and "daddy issues" in order to be a good person?

My friend responded that her thoughts on the questions for the arc of the series is:


Can she get her shit together and save her business?


Can she stop believing the people in her life that tell her she's a fleabag/bad person long enough for her to realize she's never been one?


If you've watched Fleabag, do you agree?

Do you and your friends inbox each other about literal and emotional questions?

Here is the Fleabag pilot, if you've never read it. 

Read pilots! Read screenplays!

Read read read.

(I got the Fleabag pilot from Script Pipeline which is a great resource I've mentioned before)

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