Fans of Bones and of the book series FOX’s drama is loosely based upon will want to circle May 6 on the calendar, because next week’s episode was written by none other than Kathy Reichs. Reichs created the character of Temperance Brennan for her ongoing popular mystery series about a forensic anthropologist and she is also currently a producer on Bones, the show inspired by her novels. “The Witch In The Wardrobe” is her first foray into writing for the show and she spoke to the press about the challenge of writing for such a different medium.
Like Temperance Brennan in her novels, Reichs is a forensic anthropologist, dividing her time between Charlotte, North Carolina and Montreal, Quebec. She’s written twelve Temperance books to date, with a thirteenth (Spider Bones) coming out in August. Asked to compare novel writing and TV writing, Reichs said they were very different experiences, noting:
For one thing, when I write a novel, I do it alone. I give my idea to my editors and they say that’s splendid and then I go ahead and I write the book and I send it to them. That’s not how writing a TV episode works. First you have to have your idea approved by the executive producers, your network, the studio, etc. Then when that happens you write a very lengthy outline, which I don’t usually do for my novels. When that’s approved up all the hierarchical levels, then you go and you break the story, and it’s a collective experience. You do it with the other writers, which is very different for me.
Despite the difference, the author loved the collaborative process, particularly working in the writers’ room and bouncing ideas off the other writers. Although she was a bit shocked at how many changes are made to the script on the way to production, Reichs said she would jump at the chance to write another, noting, “I really did have a good time. I learned a lot, because it was the first one I had done. I figure I shouldn’t waste all that newly acquired skill and maybe I should try my hand at a second one, if they let me do it.”