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Craft. Inspiration. Process.

Take Risks - Advice for First-Time Writers

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

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

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

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...
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 your 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...
Making the Impossible Possible

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. But sometimes we discover that it’s not happening the way we had...
Writing Tip - How to Show and Tell

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

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...
We Are All Connected

We Are All Connected

“No one is free until we are all free.”– Martin Luther King Jr. It is human nature to search for absolutes; Joe is a liar, while Helen is trustworthy. Abe is punctual, while Ruth is always late...
Writing Without Distraction

Writing Without Distraction

You’ve begun working in earnest. The story is alive, your cylinders are firing. You’re getting up every morning and putting in the hours. But then, something happens. Life delivers a distraction, and...
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 “important tasks” distract you and pull you away from your deeper purpose? Fantasy football sounds like a hoot, but if it is...
Creativity is Your Birthright

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’s a finite commodity. People tend to think...
A Pencil for Christmas

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...
Humor in Writing

Humor in Writing

There is nothing less funny than writing about humor. I was a standup comic for years. Every once in a while after a show, some dude would come up to me wanting to discuss my act. I’d cringe...

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