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Craft. Inspiration. Process.

What is Genius?

I don’t like it when people use the term genius, primarily because I think they misuse the word. I believe that genius is an aspect of our nature, rather than a character trait belonging to a select ...

First-time Writer: Setting a Daily Word Count

Consistency is the key. Set a writing goal. Can you write 750 to 1000 words a day? If you can do that, you will have a first draft in around 90 days. Do you have a rough sense of how long you want ...
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intro to the 90-day screenplay (FREE)

Join me now to begin the process of getting the story from your imagination to the page, and complete the first draft and a rewrite of your screenplay in 90 days. Zoom Meeting RecordingAccess ...

The 90-Day Memoir – Intimacy Hangover

In the first day of The 90-Day Memoir workshop the writers often have some major insights and revelations. But it is the second day that things start to get interesting. Here’s an excerpt from my ...

Begin Your Story

There are as many ways to begin your book or screenplay as there are ways to procrastinate. Beginning to write your story is easier than you think. All you have to do is sit down, get out a sheet of ...

How I Got Married

This week, Mary-Beth and I celebrated our fourteenth wedding anniversary. Getting married was a terrifying leap for me; you might call it a transformative experience. And since the cornerstone of ...

Using Your Credo to Create Story Conflict

(Image from And Justice for All, 1979) As writers, it is important to investigate and become conscious of those things that we feel strongly about. Find those issues that inflame your passion. Be ...

Writing Memoir

“You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.” – Anne Lamott It’s funny how guilt ...

Why Writers Should Embrace Doubt

Doubt exists in each of us much of the time. We are unsure about our futures, our relationships, our new tile in the bathroom, our car insurance, etc. Doubt is the cradle of conflict, both internal ...

Make it Dramatic

“Drama is life with the dull bits cut out.” – Alfred Hitchcock The movement of a story happens as the result of complications that arise, not out of plot, but out of character and theme. As ...

Everything You Need to Know is Within

“If you have a problem with the third act, the real problem is in the first act.” – Billy Wilder The purpose of story is to reveal a transformation. This shift in perception means ...

Act One: Maintaining Tension

“A writer writes not because he is educated but because he is driven by the need to communicate. Behind the need to communicate is the need to share. Behind the need to share is the need to be ...

The End of the Story Informs the Beginning

In Steven Covey’s book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, he states: “Begin with the end in mind.” For first-time writers, this is helpful advice. But let’s clarify. When we talk about “the ...

3 Secrets for Getting Started On Writing Your First Novel

Every writer struggles with getting the story from imagination to the page. The first-time novelist confronts the special challenge of having never done this before. Here are three quick tips to ...

Shedding the Idea for Truth in Writing

It’s not just first-time novelists or screenwriters that struggle with getting their story from the imagination to the page. Every writer struggles with this. Here’s the thing: Our idea of our story ...

Writing for Our Ideal Reader

Good storytelling is about having at least a somewhat conscious relationship to our ideal reader. It is about understanding the most effective order of events. Hold the story loosely, and be willing ...

Writing Act Three: Our Hero Accepts the Reality of His Situation

It can be frightening and exhilarating to realize that our story is bigger than we are, that in fact, it does not “belong” to us, that we are simply a channel. In Act Three of our story, our hero ...

“What do I do when I get stuck in my story?”

When writers come to a dead stop there can be a tendency to panic. It’s important to remember that our idea of our story is never the whole story. When we try to figure it out, we tend to dig a ...

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HOW TO BUILD A STORY

The 7 Maxims