screenplay

Why Writers Should Embrace Doubt

Why Writers Should Embrace Doubt

Doubt exists in each of us much of the time. We are unsure about our futures, our relationships, our new tile in the bathroom, our car insurance, etc. Doubt is the cradle of conflict, both internal...
Character Transformation

Character Transformation

A fundamental understanding of transformation is crucial to having anything more than an intellectual relationship to structure. You’ve probably read books on three-act-structure. But it is...
The Value of an Outline

The Value of an Outline

What’s the point of an outline? Whether consciously or not, every writer is in search of a process. A lot of writers want to dive right into their first drafts and start amassing pages. Though...
The Internet: A Writer's Worst Distraction

The Internet: A Writer’s Worst Distraction

Sometimes the deeper we get into our story, the more we seek distraction. The internet will suck the life out of any writer. It will turn the most disciplined among us into bug-eyed addicts. Not only...
What is Success?

What is Success?

“The unexamined life is not worth living.” – Socrates Years ago, I was on the phone with a prospective student, and he announced, “I will consider myself a failure if my book does not become a...
The Imperative for Dramatic Conflict

The Imperative for Dramatic Conflict

A director told me once that if you put two actors together in a scene without directing them or staging the scene, the conflict would begin to diminish. If the actors were on opposite sides of the...
Home

Finding Home

“Home is where one starts from.” – T. S. Eliot There’s nothing more primal than our quest for home. The dilemma is that our childhood homes may have been confusing, chaotic, or even violent...
No Good Guys, No Bad Guys

No Good Guys, No Bad Guys

There are times, as storytellers, when we can be so bull-headed about what we want to express, that we end up pushing an agenda rather than telling a story.  We create “good guys and bad...
Writing the Reluctant Protagonist

Writing the Reluctant Protagonist

“My aim is to put down on paper what I see and what I feel in the best and simplest way.”- Ernest Hemingway Allow the Protagonist to Feel Reluctance No one likes change. The unknown is scary. The end...
The Writers Place

The Writer’s Place

“Where did that come from?” I believe there is something we writers are collectively seeking. We are all attempting to convey an experience, a true moment, to tell a story that somehow...
Stay Curious

Stay Curious

“The curious are always in some danger. If you are curious, you might never come home.” – Jeanette Winterson When my son was three years old, he was Captain Hook for Halloween. It was...
What Do I Write Next?

What Do I Write Next?

Writers frequently come to me and say: “I have three ideas. Which one should I write next?”In the 90-day workshops, one of the first exercises we do is we write for five minutes, beginning...
Setting Up the Argument

Story is an Argument

(Image from “Big” 1988) 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...
What is My Screenplay About?

What is My Screenplay About?

When we think of our favorite movies, there is invariably an element that is so novel, so surprising, that it ignites our imagination. Think of the character Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs...
Dealing with Fear

First-Time Novelists: Dealing with Fear

Many authors share a similar fear: “What will people think?” It looks slightly different for each writer. What will my parents think when they find out I have these thoughts? What will my friends...
Hold Your Story Loosely

Hold the Story Loosely

Our idea of the story is never the whole story. The act of writing a novel, memoir, or screenplay is a way of developing a coherent narrative for something that began as a simple idea or image. We are...
What Does it Mean?

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...
Passion

Passion

“I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.” – Albert Einstein What do you feel passionate about? What is your position on justice, authenticity, self-authority, the need for...

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