meet Alan Watt

HOW I GOT STARTED

In 1998 I was invited, sort of by accident, to teach a summer screenwriting class at UCLA. My roommate’s friend booked the instructors and he had a last-minute cancellation. I like to think I got hired because he loved my writing sample, but I’m guessing he was probably just desperate.

As it turned out, I loved teaching. I’d read every book on writing and attended every story seminar I could find, but I’d never found a workshop that guided me through the process of creating a story in a way that didn’t feel sort of like math.

I decided to start L.A. Writers’ Lab in 2002, as a workshop that taught a process of marrying the wildness of your imagination to the rigor of structure.

The workshops began in my dining room and soon grew to a small theater on Melrose Avenue. But after publishing The 90-Day Novel in 2010, I started getting emails from writers around the world asking me when I was going to offer classes online.

So, here we are.

Our sole purpose is to build a body of work - Alan Watt

In my experience, there are two types of workshops. There’s the “free-writing” workshop that can often lead to wonderful prose, but frequently leaves you with a manuscript in search of a narrative. Or, there’s the standard Hollywood screenwriting workshop where story structure is taught by a “script consultant” or “story analyst” as some kind of formula, but fails to offer a process to unlock its magic.

YOUR STORY IS VALID

What you desire to express is valid. The 90-Day workshops are not about figuring out your story, but rather connecting to that ineffable impulse that dwells within - and marrying it to a framework that makes your personal experience universal. We call it the lab because this is a place where you cannot fail. Everything you write either belongs or is leading you to what belongs in your story. This is a place of joy, curiosity, wonder, and grief, of acceptance fully and completely - and always staying open to possibility. The 90-day experience is not math class, in fact, our goal as storytellers is to make the whole greater than the sum of its parts - thus the experience is more akin to a Polaroid coming into focus.

Alan Watt sitting outside the home with his wife Mary-Beth and young son, all smiling

The workshops have bestselling authors and established screenwriters working shoulder to shoulder with brand new writers. Writing is a practice, like meditation, and you can start where you are. The creative process should not be Darwinian, it should be joyful and thrilling and sometimes scary, but in a way that isn’t paralyzing.

The 90-Day Novel and The 90-Day Screenplay are donation-based, so they can be affordable to everyone.

I’m the bestselling author of the novels, Diamond Dogs and Days Are Gone, and three books on writing, The 90-Day Novel, The 90-Day Screenplay, and The 90-Day Rewrite. I’m also the writer/director of the feature film, Interior Night, which won four best feature awards at U.S. film festivals as well as the Boston Film Festival's Filmmaker Visionary Award.

I love working with writers and artists, and my deep abiding passion is story. I look forward to hearing yours.

The written signature of Alan Watt, writing teacher

Alan Watt
Founder, L.A. Writers' Lab

"Dark, sparklingly written…the story transforms into something far more complex than how a criminal covers his tracks… subtle, deadpan humor and slyly evoked telling details… an emotionally fraught father-son relationship gives the book its depth… Watt delivers a moving, multifaceted story that sharply explores the legacy of violence, distorted forms of love and the high cost of genuine freedom."

The New York Times Book Review

"Exquisite psychological fiction… resonating with suspense, wit and perception."

Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

"Here, undoubtedly, is the best first foreign novel of the new year! A true revelation. Far from the traditional whodunit, the novel takes paths much more complex than those of an ordinary police investigation… Exceptional by the force and the smoothness of the feelings which it describes, Watt’s novel touches in a masterly way…explores with clearness a small community with choking social codes… its voice resonates."

Initiales

(Independent Booksellers Assoc. of France)

"The cream of the debut-novel crop… a literary feast of the first order… its 17-year-old narrative voice rings entirely true."

Denver Rocky Mountain News

"This debut novel reveals an assured talent for complex narrative… a sensitive, darkly funny exploration of a poisonous father-son dynamic… the cranked up drama is arresting… keenly observed, touching and unusually honest in its sensual revelations."

The Globe and Mail

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HOW TO BUILD A STORY

The 7 Maxims