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Craft. Inspiration. Process.

Setting Up the Argument

Story is an argument. The theme (or dramatic question) is the thesis statement, and the story is the argument played out. Any argument requires opposing forces. These forces manifest as our ...

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 HOLD THE STORY LOOSELY Our idea of the story is ...

Simplicity

Forward, he cried From the rear And the front ranks died. Pink Floyd (Us and Them) Hi Writers, We can tell a whole world in a sentence.  The rewrite is where we polish our prose until it gleams.  We ...

Dilemma: The Source of Our Story

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

No Good Guys, No Bad Guys

I think there are times, as a storyteller, that I can be so bull-headed about what I want to express, that I end up pushing an agenda rather than telling a story.  I create “good guys and bad ...

What Happens Next?

“Be curious, not judgmental.” – Walt Whitman Hi Writers, A fatal mistake many writers make in beginning a new story, is allowing themselves to be seduced by their premise. They set about ...

Writing the Forbidden

“Freedom of speech and freedom of expression are so ingrained in our society we rarely stop to think about it. I can write anything I want – dark fiendish plots without fear. I can criticize the, ...

Technique

“Great dancers are not great because of their technique, they are great because of their passion.”– Martha Graham Hi Writers, Technique is developed over time. By reading and writing, we absorb a ...

Backstory

“The past is prologue.” – William Shakespeare When we are stuck, it is inevitably because some part of our backstory is unclear. Backstory refers to what happened before our story ...

Make it Cinematic

 A picture paints a thousand words. Since a movie is a story told in pictures, a screenplay is the blueprint from which the director takes his cues. It is not the screenwriter’s job to provide ...

Choice

Why do we write? Why do we spend months, years, even decades engaged in the solitary act of creating a world on paper with no assurance than anyone will read it, except perhaps our immediate family, ...

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 ...

Opposing Argument

“The moment we want to believe something, we suddenly see all the arguments for it, and become blind to the arguments against it.” –  George Bernard Shaw Every story is essentially an argument ...

The Arc of a Scene

“I exhort you also to take part in the great combat, which is the combat of life, and greater than every other earthly conflict.” – Plato Hi Writers, In the rewrite, we seek to make our story as ...

But That is What Really Happened

“Fiction reveals truth that reality obscures.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson In writing fiction we inevitably come to that moment that is lifted directly from our real life. Fidelity to real life events can ...

How Do I Begin?

“A novel’s whole pattern is rarely apparent at the outset of writing or even at the end; that is when the writer finds out what a novel is about and the job becomes one of understanding and, ...

The True Nature of Our Characters

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” – Anais Nin Good writing is a synthesis of ideas and instincts working in concert. ...

Backstory

“The past is prologue.” – William Shakespeare When we are feeling stuck, it is inevitably because some part of our backstory is unclear. Backstory refers to what happened before ...

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HOW TO BUILD A STORY

The 7 Maxims