screenplay

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...
How to Master Storytelling

How to Master Storytelling: Ask the Right Questions

“It is a parable of art that, to be universal, you must be specific. Otherwise, you are just talking about an abstraction. So you have to talk about a particular person and a particular place...
Who is My Protagonist?

Who is My Protagonist?

Some of you may be writing ensemble screenplays with multiple storylines and scratching your head wondering who your protagonist is. The key is two-fold. First, find the character that drives the...
Myths that Prevent You from Writing

Myths that Prevent You from Writing

There are myths that prevent you from not only completing your story, but keep you from even getting started. Some of these myths are concocted by the world out there, and some are vague terrors that...
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...
Discovering Your Process

Discovering Your Process

Finding Your Way 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...
Permission to Write theTruth

Permission to Write the Truth

What is the Truth of your story? OK, you’ve outlined your story and you’re getting ready to write your first draft. But something doesn’t feel right. You tell yourself that you’re not ready, that you...
But That's What Really Happened

But That’s What Really Happened

“I’ve given my memoirs far more thought than any of my marriages. You can’t divorce a book.“—Gloria Swanson Sticking to “What Really Happened” might cause a disconnect In...
Asking Why

Asking “Why?”

Always keep your ideal reader close by in your mind asking “Why?” Our subconscious is perfectly designed for this process. It already knows the story. Our only job is to remain curious and...
Why Writers Get Stuck

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...
One Thing Readers Hate

One Thing Readers Hate

One thing readers hate are coincidences. Sure, coincidences occur in our lives every day, but in a story, they are generally a problem. Readers lose interest when coincidence leans in the...
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...

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