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Craft. Inspiration. Process.

What is Success?

What is Success?

“The unexamined life is not worth living.” – Socrates Years ago, I was on the phone with a prospective student, and he announced, “I will consider myself a failure if my book does not become a...
Tell Your Truth

Tell Your Truth

  “A book must start somewhere. One brave letter must volunteer to go first, laying itself on the line in an act of faith, from which a word takes heart and follows, drawing a sentence into...
Taking Off the Mask

Taking Off the Mask

“The smiles of the unhappiest are often the widest.” – Mokokoma Mokhonoana In Jerry Stahl’s memoir, Permanent Midnight, he shares his story of being a successful television writer by day and...
The Writers Place

The Writer’s Place

“Where did that come from?” I believe there is something we writers are collectively seeking. We are all attempting to convey an experience, a true moment, to tell a story that somehow...
The Value of an Outline

The Value of an Outline

What’s the point of an outline? Whether consciously or not, every writer is in search of a process. A lot of writers want to dive right into their first drafts and start amassing pages. Though...
The Imperative for Dramatic Conflict

The Imperative for Dramatic Conflict

A director told me once that if you put two actors together in a scene without directing them or staging the scene, the conflict would begin to diminish. If the actors were on opposite sides of the...
Hold Your Story Loosely

Hold the Story Loosely

“Film is a dramatized reality and it is the director’s job to make it appear real . . . an audience should not be conscious of technique.” – David Lean Our idea of the story is never the whole...
How to Master Storytelling

How to Master Storytelling: Ask the Right Questions

“It is a parable of art that, to be universal, you must be specific. Otherwise, you are just talking about an abstraction. So you have to talk about a particular person and a particular place...
Who is My Protagonist?

Who is My Protagonist?

Some of you may be writing ensemble screenplays with multiple storylines and scratching your head wondering who your protagonist is. The key is two-fold. First, find the character that drives the...
Write What You Know Can Be Misunderstood

“Write What You Know” Can Be Misunderstood

Every writer hears the old song: “Write what you know.” This can be misunderstood. The fact is, we don’t write what we know, but rather, we write the nature of our experience. A plumber doesn’t have...
Writing When You Have Nothing to Lose

Writing When You Have Nothing to Lose

Have you ever experienced great loss? Whether it was a parent, spouse, or friend, the experience pulls you sharply into the present moment. Nothing else matters, not the barking dog, the unpaid bills...
Myths that Prevent You from Writing

Myths that Prevent You from Writing

There are myths that prevent you from not only completing your story, but keep you from even getting started. Some of these myths are concocted by the world out there, and some are vague terrors that...
Writing Memoir

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...
What Do I Write Next?

What Do I Write Next?

Writers frequently come to me and say: “I have three ideas. Which one should I write next?” In the 90-day workshops, one of the first exercises we do is we write for five minutes...
You Are Uniquely Qualified

You Are Uniquely Qualified

It seems it should go without saying that you are uniquely qualified to write your memoir. And yet, the voices lurk at the edges of your consciousness: Who do I think I am? Am I a fraud? A wannabe? We...
Discovering Your Process

Discovering Your Process

Finding Your Way As you write each day, you discover your own process. You begin to see there is no “right way” to create and that your objective is simply to let the story live. The first draft is a...
Permission to Write theTruth

Permission to Write the Truth

What is the Truth of your story? OK, you’ve outlined your story and you’re getting ready to write your first draft. But something doesn’t feel right. You tell yourself that you’re not ready, that you...
Banishing Redundancies

Banishing Redundancies

Redundancy is not only a sign of lazy writing; it can also pull us out of the story by interrupting the narrative flow. There are many types of redundancies in writing, from rehashing story...

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