Frank Saisbury wrote soap opera dialog for TV series such as 'General Hospital' and 'Dynasty'. Soap operas writers were said comprised of the head writer, script editor, breakdown writers and dialog writers.
Frank explained, "The head writers do the bible, the long-term story projections. The breakdown writers take that and break it down into episodes and scenes and write very detailed outlines. The dialog writers write the scripts, and the script editor keeps everything straight." James Sikking once remarked, "If you've programed the story for, say 90 days, and word about the ending gets out tomorrow, then your next 89 days are screwed if you’re basing them on suspense."
The 15 years between 1971 and 1986, Frank observed, "They've changed both in content and in the way they're done. They’re much franker now, more explicit. And they're done more by committee. There are no more writers shaping the shows alone. They're doing more location work, too. The shows today are geared to younger audiences than they were when I started."
Pam Long shared, "I’m the head writer (on 'Guiding Light'). That means that I’m in charge of long-range story. I’m a storyteller. I always had ideas in my mind. I had a keen imagination. I wasn’t a liar, but I had a lot of stories running around in my mind...I have to love (the characters) and my writers have to love them. The chemistry between the writer and the actor is very important."
'Who Shot J.R.?', Leonard Katzman pointed out, "In television terms, it was the equivalent of Columbus discovering America – except he didn’t have to go out again the next year and find another country." At the height of 'Who Shot J.R.?', Jared Martin maintained, "I’m not in on the need-to-know part of the story. I haven’t seen the final pages...There's a soap opera formula that decrees the more popular the character, the more the viewer response when he or she is killed off...Supposing I did know what the cliffhanger is? I wouldn’t say a word."
It had been said, "Most TV writers know that cliffhanger endings mean big ratings for the payoff episodes next season." However the writers were also mindful "not to write their characters into tight corners".