screenplay

Ignorance is Bliss

I wrote the first draft of my first novel in just under 90 days. I’d been writing stand-up and screenplays for years, but very little prose. I had a strong sense of story, and a pretty clear ...

Your Truest Self

As you write each day, you discover your own process. You begin to see there is no “right way” to create and that your objective is simply to let the story live. The first draft is a near constant ...

Asking “Why?”

“Don’t approach your history for its cautionary fruit . . . Tell your stories, and your story will be revealed . . . Don’t be afraid of appearing angry, small-minded, obtuse, mean, immoral, amoral, ...

Facebook is Not Your Friend

Not only is the Internet a storehouse of valuable information, and social media a way to stay connected to your friends and loved ones . . . it’s also a time-sucking vortex bent on destroying ...

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 ...

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 ...

Why Writers Get Stuck

Einstein says, “You cannot solve a problem at the same level of consciousness that created the problem.” Writers often get stuck because they believe it’s their job to figure out a solution to their ...

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 ...

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 ...

What Do I Write Next?

Writers tell me frequently: “I have three ideas. Which one should I write next?” In the 90-day novel workshop, the first exercise we do is we write for five minutes, beginning with: & ...

The Courage to be Specific in Writing

Humans are full of paradoxes. We only love to the extent that we hate. We are constantly changing our minds, constantly renegotiating with ourselves and others. To be specific is to be curious about ...

Character Transformation

A fundamental understanding of transformation is crucial to having anything more than an intellectual relationship to structure. We have all read the books on three-act-structure. By the way, what ...

The Desire to Write

We begin flush with excitement, thrilled at the opportunity to express something in a way the world has never known. As we go deeper into the story, the forest grows thick with ghosts from our past. ...

Building a Body of Work

I remember one day over twenty years ago when I was bellyaching to a friend of mine about how nobody was buying my work. He looked me dead in the eye. “What’s your job?” he asked. “To sell my.” “ ...

The Inner Critic

“Don’t worry about what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs are people who have come alive.”– Howard Thurman There’s a difference between ...

Ten Suggestions

Below are ten suggestions for anyone who is setting out to write a novel, memoir, or screenplay. Some are obvious, while others are perhaps less so. 1) Write everyday. No matter what. The simple act ...

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 ...

Writing is a Contact Sport

Last week in one of my workshops we found ourselves discussing the difference between writing from the head and writing from the body. We tend to think of writing as a sedentary activity, engaging ...