Like most of the planet, I have developed a grand fondness for this period drama. Now, that’s not unusual for me – I love period drama – but I do think it’s unusual for the American populace in general. So there must be something special about this show that draws people in, and I think it’s the writing – smart, careful, controlled, witty, powerful writing. So as a writer, I can learn from that show, and here’s what I take away:

5. A facial expression can convey so much more than words. When Bates casts a sidelong glance at Anna, it’s more than enough.

4. Quick, dry wit is powerful. The Dowager Countess can cut a person and draw a smile with a few well-placed words

3. Subtle is good. Given the massive following that the show has gained, it’s clear that people can still appreciate the drama of daily human interaction, especially if royalty is show to be human.

2. No introduction or explanation needed. We all catch onto the idea of an entail within a few minutes.

1. Complex characters that develop make for good story. It’s basic storytelling; we want our characters to be people – not all good or bad. . . complicated, like we are.

The writing on Downton Abbey is just superb. It’s not gimmicky and doesn’t rely on formulas or big drama to create intrigue and interest. That’s something I can strive for in my own work.

But I’ve only listed five writing lessons from the show, I know there are more. What do you learn about writing from Downton Abbey?