How Chayla Wolfberg Channeled TV Writing Into Her Debut Novel


This post is by Logan Baker from No Film School

Written by Chayla Wolfberg

When I first decided that I wanted to pursue writing professionally, I pictured myself writing for television. That is still one of my professional goals, but at the time, the idea of writing an entire book seemed insurmountable.

Then, like so many others in the spring of 2020, I suddenly found myself with quite a bit of free time on my hands.

I was watching Saturday Night Live’s pandemic special from home when I found myself wondering what might happen if two cast members on the show were secretly living together, but had to hide it. From that idea, Late Night Love emerged.

Saturday Night Live had an enormous influence on me, so it’s not that surprising that it became the subject of my first book. Late Night Love actually marks my second time writing about the show, although my first time doing so in a creative format.

I wrote a paper in college for one of my political science classes about how political comedy could impact learning, using Saturday Night Live as an example. I chose the subject because that was exactly what happened to me as a middle schooler. Saturday Night Live was what inspired my own interest in politics, which eventually morphed into a desire to satirize politics.

Late Night Love allowed me to combine my love for telling political jokes with a longer-form story about romance and self-discovery.

Deciding that I wanted to pursue writing as a career was slightly terrifying, but also felt right. Before writing Late Night Love, that work was focused primarily on television pilots, honing my craft and refining my voice as a comedy writer.

The prospect of seeing my work on the small screen energized me, and Late Night Love arose as a unique opportunity to grow as a writer in an entirely new way. Even more exciting, I could finally write something and share it with the world.

How Chayla Wolfberg Channeled TV Writing Into Her Debut Novel

The actual writing process was challenging. I think it’s important for any writer to remember that the things we read or watch are all final drafts of something. Easier said than done, especially when confronted with the wealth of inspiration that the literary and television landscapes provide. Still, I aspired towards my influences as I wrote (and rewrote) my novel, and I hope that Late Night Love can serve as a similar source of inspiration for young writers.

It took me five drafts before Late Night Love was ready to be published. All of those hours of writing contributed not only to the final product of my novel, but also to my general writing skills. The more I wrote, the better I got. Writing a novel energized me to return to the television pilots I had written with new skills that made them better, and reminded me what I love so much about both mediums.

Now, I can’t imagine a future for myself as a writer that doesn’t include both novels and scripts. Maybe even both, if I get really lucky. The advantage to writing novels is that they are much easier to produce, and so I can continue telling stories and sharing them with the world while I also work to make my Hollywood dreams come true.

My next project is a historical romance novel about Jewish pirates in the Caribbean, something I didn’t even know existed until I discovered a history book about the subject. I’d describe this project as Fiddler on the Roof meets Pirates of The Caribbean, in the form of a romance novel. It was especially exciting to write something that combines my love for romance with my love for Jewish history.

Right now, I’m writing the kinds of stories that I’ve always dreamed of reading. It’s not what I imagined for myself, because it’s even better.