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Craft. Inspiration. Process.

But That’s What Really Happened

“I’ve given my memoirs far more thought than any of my marriages. You can’t divorce a book.“—Gloria Swanson Sticking to “What Really Happened” might cause a disconnect In ...
Asking "Why?"

Asking “Why?”

Always keep your ideal reader close by in your mind asking “Why?” Our subconscious is perfectly designed for this process. It already knows the story. Our only job is to remain curious and ...
trusting the process

Trusting the Process

Be open to possibilities When I wrote my first novel Diamond Dogs, I had the idea that my hero, a high school senior, gets rid of the body. He accidentally kills a kid while driving late one night on ...

Why Writers Get Stuck

Einstein says, “You cannot solve a problem at the same level of consciousness that created the problem.” Writers often get stuck because they believe it’s their job to figure out a solution to their ...
One Thing Readers Hate

One Thing Readers Hate

One thing readers hate are coincidences. Sure, coincidences occur in our lives every day, but in a story, they are generally a problem. Readers lose interest when coincidence leans in the ...
Take Risks

Take Risks – Advice for First-Time Writers

“In order to share one’s true brilliance one initially has to risk looking like a fool.” – Criss Jami Writing your first story is sort of like, well . . . there’s a first time for ...
Outlining: The Dramatic Question

Outlining: The Dramatic Question

Your characters are a function of the plot, archetypes that constellate around the dramatic question. Story is essentially an argument with the dramatic question being the thesis statement we are ...

Blind Spots in Your Story

It is human to have blind spots, and often convenient to be in denial about certain aspects of ourselves. This is natural, or, at least, common. Humans are not logical, and stories both great and wild ...

On Writing Dialogue

“If you have a good ear for dialogue, you just can’t help thinking about the way people talk. You’re drawn to it. And the obsessive interest in it forces you to develop it. You almost can’t help ...

Developing Your Writing Technique

  Technique develops over time. By reading and writing, we absorb a sense of story structure, cadence, and rhythm; we learn how to create and release tension. We deepen our relationship to our ...
Screenwriting: Playing on the Page

Playing on the Page

When there is a story problem you can’t solve, or there appears to be no way out for your characters, remember one thing: It’s not your job to solve it. Instead, get excited by the complication. ...
what happens next

What Happens Next?

The first step in creating a fully alive story is imagining the world. This simply means envisioning your characters in relation to each other and asking “What happens next?” With each ...
A Screenplay is a Blueprint

A Screenplay is a Blueprint

A screenplay is the blueprint from which directors take their cues. It is not the screenwriter’s job to provide camera shots — in fact, that is usually the sign of a novice. But it is our job to ...
The Power of Curiosity

The Power of Curiosity

Story creation often begins with an idea or an image that ignites your imagination. You become curious, wanting to know more, to see how it is going to play out. The desire to write is connected to ...

How Do I Begin?

“How do I begin?” The process of story creation is mysterious. Where do our story ideas come from? From where do our characters emerge? At their core, our stories are born out of an ...

Making the Impossible Possible

Turning the impossible into something possible is the magic of story. We often have an idea of the direction our story is going, and sometimes we discover that it’s not happening the way we had ...

Writing Tip – How to Show and Tell

“Action is eloquence.” – William Shakespeare If we find ourselves editorializing, that is telling or explaining what is happening in our story. It’s “OK” . . . however, we ...

Surrender to Your Story

Our story asks everything of us. If it didn’t, we would never surrender. How often do we live our lives as though we were not going to die? We make choices and even avoid opportunities out of fear. We ...

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HOW TO BUILD A STORY

The 7 Maxims

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