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Craft. Inspiration. Process.

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, ...

Finding Your Writing Voice

I work with many first-time novelists, screenwriters, and memoirists, and the question of voice always comes up. “Do you think I have a voice?” asks the first-time writer. “Should it be in a ...

Trusting the Unconscious

If you’re a first-time writer, and you’ve yet to complete a manuscript, you may have had the experience of writing something, and getting stuck halfway through. Our idea of our story is rarely the ...

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? ...

The Purpose of the Outline

Whether consciously or not, every writer is in search of a process. The outline is an often misunderstood element in the creative process. Some writers eschew it completely, considering it to limit ...

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 ...

Writing Prose

“Prose is architecture, not interior design.” – Ernest Hemingway Our words are in service to our story. When we get too flashy with our adjectives, we may distract and even confuse our reader in ...

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 ...

The Lens Through Which You See Your Story

“I find that when I am working I become like an antenna, and suddenly everything relates to my screenplay: a mentioned recipe, a joke somebody tells, a billboard that I see. It all becomes grist for ...

Ignorance is Bliss

I wrote the first draft of my first novel in just under 90 days. I’d been writing stand-up and screenplays for years, but very little prose. I had a strong sense of story, and a pretty clear ...

Your Truest Self

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 near constant ...

Asking “Why?”

“Don’t approach your history for its cautionary fruit . . . Tell your stories, and your story will be revealed . . . Don’t be afraid of appearing angry, small-minded, obtuse, mean, immoral, amoral, ...

Facebook is Not Your Friend

Not only is the Internet a storehouse of valuable information, and social media a way to stay connected to your friends and loved ones . . . it’s also a time-sucking vortex bent on destroying ...

Myths that Prevent You from Writing

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

Exploring the Dilemma

At the heart of every story lies a dilemma. It is not a question of whether or not your protagonist has a dilemma, but rather, how effectively you’ve explored it. By exploring your protagonist ...

Story Structure as an Experiential Model

There is a structure to the universe. From the smallest atom to the forces that move the planets, there is a universal law. We live in a state of surrendered acceptance to it (whether consciously or ...

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 ...

Creativity is our Birthright

Creativity is our 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 ...

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HOW TO BUILD A STORY

The 7 Maxims