Diana Gabaldon…Scriptwriter…A Look Ahead to Outlander Episode 2×11   20 comments


I once read an interviewer who said that Diana Gabaldon’s story was a Cinderella tale for aspiring authors.  On some levels, I would have to agree.  There is definitely the element of the fairy tale about her success. A woman believes she should be an author and sets out to write a book for practice and ends up with a multi book contract, finds her name on the New York Times best seller list, and can quit her day job to write full time, yep, sounds like a fairy tale to me!  But, if you spend much time delving into the world of Diana Gabaldon, you’ll discover her success is much more about hard-work and persistence than magical fairy godmothers.  She was a working mother with three small children when she began writing her novel for “practice”.  She wrote in the wee hours and when she could, but she kept at it.  Now, I would argue that her success isn’t just about hard work.  It also has a lot to do with her intelligence, her ability to think with both sides of her brain and innate talent to tell a story.  Luckily for us,  she is very generous with her fans who aspire to write and shares a lot about her process and general information about writing a novel.  The most consistent message I’ve heard from her is to write, to find what works for you and then do it … a lot.

Read the rest of the article after the jump!

As an fan of Diana and her books, I was thrilled when I found out Outlander was finally being made into film.  We were weary of waiting to see our beloved story told on a screen. It just didn’t seem like it was going to happen. We all understood. These were BIG books and a big story.  As Diana has often said, “a lot of really talented” people had tried to make a two-hour movie script for Outlander and failed. And, even though we really wanted to see our beloved characters in the flesh, many of us were relieved no one had succeeded in chopping our book down to fit a two-hour movie. Excuse me while I shudder at the mere thought that it really could have happened.  The collaboration between Diana and Ron D Moore and the talent of all involved has created a show to be proud of and it only gets better.  They fulfilled the promise of bringing these wonderful characters, their struggles, and… love to life. The series has brought new fans to the fold and the fandom has grown and changed like the living breathing thing it is, including having growing pains.  I’m so proud to be a fan of this show.  We love them all for creating it even when we nitpick, or squabble or worry.  In fact, I loved this comment from one of my readers I got today.

…I have read the entire series including Lord John books multiple times. Diana is one of my favorite authors because of her ability to create such incredible characterizations and her masterful storytelling. We feel we know these characters intimately and feel vested in their future. That being said, I love what has been created at Starz. I feel that Ron Moore has treated the material respectfully. He has taken a story and characters we all love and created a wonderful interpretation (not a literal translation). I am able to enjoy Ron’s depiction for what it is – the telling of a great story!

I often wonder if Diana marvels at all that has come to pass because she decided to write a book.   I’m certainly one of the things that came to pass. I started a blog to practice writing and Outlander seemed the obvious choice of subject matter given my current and so far, enduring obsession. But, I wasn’t the only one inspired to be creative or do something outside our comfort zone! Wow, can Outlander fans do #EpicShit, fan events, blogs, charity drives, memes, art, and poetry were all inspired by our love of Outlander! We made t-shirts, learned Gàidhlig, marched in parades, increased Scottish tourism about a million percent, decorated cakes, made Outlander themed jewelry, tattoos and fan clubs galore. Our connections to each other grew. We had Outlander Knitters, Outlander Bakers, Outlander Herbalists, Outlander Support Groups. Friends we met on-line became real-life friends from all over the world.  I’m amazed and proud of  the community we have created.


We’ve had wonderful interaction with the folks involved with making the show and access to some fascinating information about the film-making process. I find myself happy for all the new experiences and opportunities this has also brought Diana. She has gotten a lot of attention since the series began, but I don’t believe fame has changed her. I think she just adapts to all that it brings, good and bad.  And, these past two years I’m sure have brought a bit of both.  She has had press junkets galore…

Sat on panels…

Got to act, ….


Walked the red carpet…

And…. got to write a screen play for an episode based on her own work (the irony)…and… got to be on set when it was filmed!


I saw her tweet yesterday that she had just finished a podcast of her episode with Ron where they discussed the process of adapting and her experience of it.  I don’t usually listen to  podcasts, but I think I might have to make time and internet minutes for this one.  As a women about to get one year closer to 60 this Saturday, Diana inspires me for her continued interest in learning and trying new things.  You are NEVER too old to do whatever you set your heart on doing.  Thank God.  I’m sure her insight and commentary will be well worth our time. I’ll admit to being anxious to see how fans react to the author’s adaptation of her own work. In fact, I saw her address that question on Twitter!


What I suspect I’ll hear from Diana is that writing a script is truly very different from writing a novel.  In a lot of ways it has to be much easier, but if I’ve learned anything from the TallShips Productions folks its that script-writing and adapting a novel comes with many challenges and often things that work on the page don’t necessarily work on the screen. Things often have to be changed on the fly or moor, if you will.  The Gemini in me kind of likes that challenge, but I’m anxious to hear what Diana thought of the whole experience and I’m very excited to see if I can recognize her writer’s voice in this episode. I’m sure I’ll love it.

Because she wrote a book…and Ron read it..we have the best of both worlds.

Here is a link to a wonderful article that tells a great deal about how Diana came to write her book. http://januarymagazine.com/profiles/gabaldon.html

Posted June 15, 2016 by bethwesson in Outlandish Anticipation

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20 responses to “Diana Gabaldon…Scriptwriter…A Look Ahead to Outlander Episode 2×11

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  1. Reblogged this on My Outlander Blog! and commented:

    Can’t wait to see Diana’s episode!

  2. Love your insight….

  3. Recently, being laid up with a painful back, I happened upon HBO’s series “Project Greenlight” produced by Matt Damon & Ben Affleck …. Please, please, please, if you have an opportunity watch the second season (all the way to the end) it will give you a whole new knowledge of how movies are made….. I was astonished at the horrendous obstacles their are in filming. So for those that complain that the series is not exactly how the books are written, this will give you a new insight into the filming process…. If you do this it may alleviate some of your frustrations…

  4. I am interested in seeing how the complainers and nitpickers react to Diana’s episode.

  5. Diana ha a phenomenal talent as a writer and for someone who decided to see if she could write a book – well she has proven that she can. Diana and her gifted story telling cannot be duplicated by others. Part of a recommended reading list of 18th Century included author S. Kearsley.I was embarrassed for her and her lack of originality by using so much plot and scenes from Outlander books. There are others who will attempt to duplicate Outlander series but none can approach the marvelous descriptive prose and well-researched scenario that DG has given us. Thank you Diana.

  6. The podcasts (available free on iTunes, so you can download and listen on your device) are wonderful. I get so much information about the why and the how that it just enhances my enjoyment.

  7. Pinned onto Outlander the Series.

  8. Diana is adapting her own original work, much like author Gillian Flynn’s own screenplay adaptation of the novel “Gone Girl”. She already understands the major and minor plot points, character motivations, how directors and cinematographers work on that exact production, and the basic set and costume designs. And importantly, it was storyboarded so that her scenes would be ready to adapt to a visual medium. I have no doubt she would have found it “easy”. And I can’t wait to see it.

  9. Beth, I watched all the previews and clips, and thought, “Herself wrote these words!” I wait with delicious anticipation for her podcast on Saturday night. I know she will make me laugh with her irony. A laugh will be much welcomed after an episode with vengeance in the title! I had another thought on Monday evening as I sat in Madison Square Garden filled to capacity listening to the Dixie Chicks – I bet all of us Obsessenachs would fill the place too, if Diana was speaking. Couldn’t you imagine an event like that? Keep writing your blogs, and enjoy your last few days of school. (sent from this retired teacher) Thanks, Susan Kamlet

  10. Once again, I find myself nodding my head repeatedly as I read your blog! Since the series began, it has seemed every single episode could have easily been expanded to a 90 minute or 2 hour movie! Create a movie of one of these books? Impossible! Clearly it was waiting for the right talent to bring it to the screen in the best possible way.

  11. Thank you Beth . I just cannot believe how well you capture my “our” thoughts and feelings about Diana Gabaldon and Outlander. Thank you is not adequate for Diana and her talent or yours. Outlander has been in my life for 23 years and I continue to go back and read them. I love the detail and how I can hear ,see and feel the characters. The story is captivating and alive. I’m looking forward to clinging to them as I recover from a very difficult upcoming surgery. I once again will use “Outlander therapy ” to assist me in recovery. Really helps to have Starz series to give a new facet to the books I love. Please keep writing Beth and Diana. Thanks always !

  12. Thank you for your thoughts on the series, both books and on screen. You tell it like it is, but balance the book/newbies oh so well. Like Susan’s comment, I also find myself nodding when reading your comments. Diana has done extraordinary work, and heartily look forward to her episode interpretation this week. Keep writing!

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