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Craft. Inspiration. Process.

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 help ...

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 deeper ...

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 different ...

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? ...

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 ways ...

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 ...

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’s ...

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 ...

Show, Don’t Tell

Show, don’t tell—the mantra of every screenwriting teacher. Film is a visual medium in which behavior reveals character. Novelists and memoirists have the luxury of exploring the internal lives of our ...

Story Structure

Story structure is often taught by story analysts as plot, but it is really the DNA of our protagonist’s internal journey to transformation. Without a sense of a beginning, middle and ending, you are ...

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HOW TO BUILD A STORY

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