inspiration

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. ...
Setting a Plan with Purpose

Setting a Plan with Purpose

Do you often find it hard to stick to your writing plan? How often do we get distracted by “important tasks” that pull us away from our deeper purpose? Fantasy football sounds like a hoot, but if it ...

Creativity is Your Birthright

Creativity is your birthright. We live in a culture that is invested in our believing otherwise. I frequently hear folks talk of talent as though it were a finite commodity that one either possessed ...

A Pencil for Christmas

So many of my students and potential students come to me wanting to know how to get published and produced. They want their work to be read, to be seen. But what they really want is for themselves to ...

The Bestseller: Process, Not Result

“I put my heart and my soul into my work, and have lost my mind in the process.” – Vincent Van Gogh Here’s a story: About ten years ago I was speaking to a potential student on the ...

What is Genius?

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 ...

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 a ...

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 Despite Fear of Criticism

  In 2017, Gustavo Dudamel became the youngest conductor of a major orchestra of his time. I remember an L.A. Times journalist urged us not to get too excited about our newest conductor, ...

The Real Meaning of “Write What You Know”

Write what you know. We’ve heard this so often. But what does it mean? Does it mean that if I am a mechanic then I should only write about mechanics? Or if I am a woman, I can only write about women? ...

Discovering Your Writing Process

  As we write each day we discover our own process. We begin to see there is no “right way” to create and that our objective is simply to let the story live. The first draft is a near constant ...

Is It Any Good?

There can be a real desire, especially for the novice writer, to have someone validate our work as soon as possible. Is it really any good? I have a friend, a successful Century City lawyer, let’s ...

Building a Body of Work

I remember one day over twenty years ago when I was bellyaching to a friend of mine about how nobody was buying my work. He looked me dead in the eye. “What’s your job?” he asked. “To sell my work.” ...

The Inner Critic

“Don’t worry about what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs are people who have come alive.”– Howard Thurman There’s a difference between ...

Juxtaposition

The rewrite process can sometimes lead us into a rut. Our attempts to make our work as clear and specific as possible can begin to feel routine. So sometimes we need to mix things up and get a little ...

Your Writing Process is Valid

The 90-Day Novelists began writing their first drafts a couple of weeks ago. Through this workshop we are each discovering our own unique process. And more importantly, we are learning to trust that ...

Stay Curious

“The curious are always in some danger. If you are curious, you might never come home.” – Jeanette Winterson When my son was three years old, he was Captain Hook for Halloween. It was ...

12 Maxims of The 90-Day Novel

I hope you’re enjoying your spring. My post today is actually a list I call “12 Maxims of The 90-Day Novel.” These are twelve things to consider while writing your first draft: 1) ...

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