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By Nancy Holder

A Writer’s Perspective: Why Beauty and the Beast is the Show to Watch

“Are those scripts?” asked the parking attendant as I pulled into yet another hotel in Los Angeles (I travel a lot) and unloaded four three-inch binders, two pink and two blue, onto the luggage cart.
Yes, they are. I have two seasons of Beauty and the Beast scripts contained in four enormous binders—pink for season one, blue for season two—and I have taken them with me everywhere as I work on my three tribute novels for the show. Yes, I have digital copies on my hard drive; yes I could simply slip my laptop into an oversized purse and burrow in for days of writing and room service. But what sets BatB apart for a “tie-in” writer like me—someone who tries to create more adventures for the characters of a show, set in their world—is that the scripts for Beauty and the Beast are so well-written they’re like picture books, or perhaps more correctly, magical illuminated manuscripts. And they’ve just gotten better and better. 
As my fellow fans (“Beasties”) will agree, Vincent, Catherine, Tess, J.T., and their friends and enemies are real to us and live in our heads—and hearts—even when the show is not currently airing. This is because the BatB writers are completely committed to telling stories that capture the passion and devotion of VinCat while sending Beauty and her Beast on pulse-pounding adventures, solving mysteries and risking their lives for justice. What makes BatB the show to watch is that they do this so well. BatB has one of the most ardent fan bases in the world, and it’s because this “universe” has expanded way beyond a weekly viewing event. It’s part of our lives.  
Enter someone like me, attempting to keep that universe growing in other, in my case through novels. In Vendetta, my first BatB novel, I have attempted to give fans more of our special world, in which Catherine, Vincent, Tess, and J.T. work to rescue the kidnapped son of New York City’s most powerful crime boss while at the same time recapturing Cat’s father—unaware that Gabe has nefarious plans of his own. I felt a mandate to lavish extra time and attention on this book because of the high bar the show writers have set. My aim was also to write an exciting novel that “regular” readers would enjoy even if they aren’t ardent Beasties. For that reason, I couldn’t be a lazy novelist and simply depend on touching the heartstrings of fellow fans. I had to make sure I plotted a good story and keep the characterizations clear and strong for someone who might not know who Heather was, or understand a reference to “Z-babe.”
Sometimes it surprises viewers to hear that writers consider TV to be a visual medium. A TV script is an art form all its own because the images that writers evoke with words create the worlds for those special shows that take on a life of their own—like Beauty and the Beast. From these carefully crafted manuscripts, the actors, director, production designer, director of photography, stunt coordinator, and all the other staff and crew contribute their best work—but it all comes down to the scripts first. I have to write my novels before I view most of a season’s episodes—Vendetta was completed long before the huge reveals of the end of season one were shown onscreen—but because of the strength of the scripts, I could see the drama and tragedy that awaited us after a season-one-ending spoiler phone call from CBS. 
I actually do several viewings of BatB with the sound turned off so I can see the nonverbal themes and metaphors that the teleplay writers have fashioned. For example, Vincent is often paired with roses; important “girl discussions” tend to take place at the coffee house Il Cantuccio; and who can erase from memory the magical world of Cat’s rooftop—which actually evokes her blurry memories of the forest, where Vincent first saved her and set them on the course of their destined love? You can see that I have written all these details into Vendetta. In my own way, I  attempt to share the magic of the most involving show on television—and the scripts are my spell books. I hope that if you read Vendetta, you will likewise be transported by the sorcery of words into the enchanted realm of Beauty and the Beast. I assure you, my task was made much easier by the wizards who write for the show to watch on TV for the past two years…with at least one more season to go. And that’s why I drag this gigantic binders brimming with scripts all over L.A.—and count myself unbelievably lucky to do so.