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Craft. Inspiration. Process.

What Does it Mean?

Everyone has a story. It takes courage to tell it, be it memoir or fiction, because there comes a point where we must separate the facts from the truth. The challenge for the storyteller lies in ...

The Creative Process

When my son, Ray, was first learning to speak, there were so many new words each day — the syntax often fascinating and occasionally perverse. He also had a sophisticated sense of humor. He called his ...

Sell Your Novel to the Movies

When I did a book tour for my first novel, someone asked, “Have you sold the film rights?” And when I said yes, there was this gasp, like I’d been showered with pixie dust because Hollywood wanted my ...

Trust

I grew up in a very bright, academic family, but at times I felt alone. My family members were very logical, reasonable people. I was not. I was more interested in the nature of things and the unseen ...

Writing Memoir: Personal & Universal

The challenge in writing a memoir is that self-examination is not typically meant to be shared. The goal in writing a dynamic memoir lies in offering a transformative experience for our protagonist ...

Weights and Measures

PROXIMITY Do our characters have to be two thousand miles apart, or three miles apart? If we are trying to convey a sense of distance, remember that distance is relative. Let’s say that our ...

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)   We can tell a whole world in a sentence.  The rewrite is where we polish our prose until it gleams.  We remove ...

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 ...

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 FBI, ...

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 ...

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, ...

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   In the rewrite, we seek to make our story as dynamic as ...

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. Letting ...

Staying Connected to the Source

“To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle, requires creative imagination.” – Albert Einstein The rewrite uses the left and right brain ...

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HOW TO BUILD A STORY

The 7 Maxims

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