WEEK OF AUGUST 19, 2007 EDITION
SALEM LIVES: HEAD WRITER'S STATUS REPORT!!
IT'S BEEN ONE HELL OF A YEAR THUS FAR ON SALEM LIVES AND, LIKE LAST YEAR, WE ARE SITTING DOWN WITH THE TEAM THAT DELIVERS IT ALL TO YOU ON A DAILY BASIS...HEAD WRITERS TIM LOWERY (PHOENIX) AND PATRICK L. EWING (ROMAN). IN THE FIRST OF A TWO PART FEATURE, WE SIT DOWN WITH PATRICK L. EWING TO GET HIS TAKE ON ALL THE HAPPENINGS ON SALEM LIVES AND WHAT IS TO COME!
Interviewer (I): We last talked to you personally a year ago. How do you think Salem Lives has changed in the year since you came aboard?
Patrick L. Ewing (PLE): Hopefully, the fans of the blog have liked how each and every story is character driven. Plot driven stories don't last very long. Also, everything that we do at SL is mapped out 8 months to a year and a half in advance. It makes the storytelling much easier that way because then all a writer would have to do is tweak stories instead of doing something that truly wouldn't make any sense just to shock the readers.
I: How do you think Salem Lives has improved in the last year?
PLE: Well, hopefully, if there was a JER-like influence at SL, that is long gone. We truly try not to do that here. Everything flows from one point to the next and, if it doesn't, my wonderful partner and I, Tim Lowery, sit down, talk it out, and come to a bonifide understanding. No egos involved now, even though I do have the tendency of getting upset if I see something I don't like. But, Tim is a very calming influence on me. (laughs)
I: What have been your favorite stories since last August? Any favorite episodes or moments?
PLE: "The Mob War" and "The MCF" stories are personal favorites. I love umbrella stories because you can take each character in whatever direction you want to and, in those types of stories, they don't end. They just move on into the next phase until the writers decide where to call it a day. I also liked Marie's funeral, The New Years Eve Ball, The MCF reveal, and, most recently, the shocking return of Ms. Samantha Brady. Also, the gun battle in Sydney. Another personal favorite. Bringing on Peter Bergman as Forrest Alamain, bringing back George as Orpheus, and the romances that have been played out, when they have been (laughs), are some of my favorites.
I: What are your least favorite stories since last August? Any least favorite episodes or moments?
PLE: Least favorite? Anything having to do with a ghost. I hate that! (laughs) I have always been a firm believer that once a character is dead, they are dead, period. We have had some things about all the people we have brought back to life but we hope that our readers understand that we just don't do it because A.) It's being done on Days Of Our Lives or B.) It's the most shocking thing we can come up with. It has to make sense and I hope that they give us that leeway to tell these types of stories. Also, I don't feel we have to tell each single story every time we write an episode. No need to write "War & Peace" or "The Greatest Story Ever Told" every single time we post an episode. (laughs)
I: Do you feel the writing for Salem Lives as a whole has improved in the past year?
PLE: The way we can tell if the writing has improved is by the constructive, yet very positive feedback we get on top of all the wonderful, truly inspiring people who take any time out of their busy days and come by SL to read what we have put on the blog. The stories are so much fun to tell but when someone says "You two should write for Days" - that really makes my day.
I: What would you like to do in the future on Salem Lives that hasn't been done yet?
PLE:There are a few things in motion that will be played out throughout the Fall season. There are things planned that DOOL hasn't done in a very long time. Characters are about to go through moments that, hopefully, will have fans on the edge of their seats. That's all I will say now. (laughs)
I: In the past year, have you changed your feelings toward any particular character you wrote for? In other words, do you now hate writing for a character that you once enjoyed writing for?
PLE: You know, a good writer writes for each and every character, no matter how you feel about them. If they are on your canvas, IMO, write for them. If a writer either hates writing for a character or doesn't have a place for them, those characters need to go. Not necessarily killed off but, at the very least, moved off canvas until there is such time to bring them back - with a good story. I don't like writing for a character if all she's going to do is cook dinner or have visions every single time we see her. That makes no sense. (laughs)
I: Salem Lives has had a large cast for the past year, one that is being cut down a bit now. Will cutting down help and did you find writing for a large cast difficult?
PLE: We're both in the process of moving people out and giving characters a rest. We will bring back certain people down the road but I hope that the readers understand that when you have a cast list over 40, there is no possible way to write for everyone effectively. It will help immensely with the storytelling because then you can focus on fewer people, which streamlines everything so much better.
I: Salem Lives uses Days history an awful lot and seems to strive to be true to every character. How important do you feel history is to the writing and to Salem Lives?
PLE: You know something? Ask the readers. If you look at our views and the feedback, people seem to like the fact that history pays a major part in every single story we tell. History gives the story alot of material for the present while pushing a story into the future. The stories that are being told now are proof of that in a huge way and there is more of that to come.
I: Orpheus as the MCF seems to have been the biggest story of the year, along with the Victor vs Stefano war. Clearly, both are umbrella stories. How important do you feel umbrella stories are to Salem Lives and how you feel personally about them? What are you thoughts on the MCF/Orpheus story and the Victor vs Stefano story? Do you feel they were successful quality-wise as umbrella stories?
PLE: Well, I'll answer the second question now. Nobody knew what was coming in either of those stories. It allowed us to use the entire canvas while also making the vets the focal point. Both were great successes. They were long stories to write and we're still not done. Even though we still haven't explained how a cruise ship got into the middle of Illinois (laughs) the readers seemed to really dig them.
I: What are you most excited about that is upcoming on Salem Lives this Fall and beyond? Is there anything you want Salem Lives as a whole to improve on and is there anything you feel you want to personally improve on as a writer?
PLE: We have said that the length needs to improve and steps will be taken to work on that. The doom and gloom will also lighten up. It doesn't mean it will become a comedy but we truly listen to the readers when they say that at times as there is way too much death, destruction and gloom on SL. That will be worked on. The rest...........just wait and see. I would also like to be interviewed more than just once a year too. (laughs)
I: Any other further thoughts on Salem Lives' past, present, or future?
PLE: I just want to once again thank my wonderful partner, Tim Lowery, who without giving me this opportunity to write for SL I would just be sitting on the sidelines. A true Godsend he is. A wonderful friend and colleague, who has a truly giving spirit. And, to the fans, who make this all worthwhile, from the bottom of my heart, I thank them. And be prepared. They haven't seen anything yet.
COMINGS AND GOINGS
Finola Hughes and Christian Bale (Elizabeth and Alexander Dawson): As previously reported, this mother/son duo debuts August 24.
Patsy Pease and Charles Shaughnessy (Kimberly Brady and Shane Donovan): As previously reported, the popular supercouple is out. Their last airdate will be August 22.
Rachel Melvin (Chelsea Brady): As previously reported, the young actress is out. She will last air on August 24.
PREVIEWS AND PEEKS INTO WK OF 8/20/07
-Tony and Carrie have a heart to heart.
-Victor attacks Stefano.
-Cal learns that Katherine is keeping something from him.
-Carrie makes a big decision.
-Kim and Shane say goodbye.
-Steve books a flight.
-Hope is on to Steve.
-Cal and Katherine make a life changing decision.
-Chelsea's loved ones say goodbye.
-A mysterious mother/son team make their debut.
-Jack and Billie take a dive.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WEEK: WEDNESDAY AUGUST 22 AND FRIDAY AUGUST 24
KIM AND SHANE BID SALEM FAREWELL WHILE CHELSEA'S LOVED ONES GATHER TO SAY AN EMOTIONAL GOODBYE AS WELL!!
NEXT WEEK: IT'S SUMMER FINALE WEEK AS Hope follows Steve to New Orleans, Anna lashes out at Tony, Cassie learns a shocking secret., fate brings Jack and Billie closer, a bombshell is dropped, and Cal and Katherine say goodbye, along with Carrie. Plus, tragedy strikes a beloved Salem resident!