Writing About Writing: Let Other People Read Your Stuff

Yesterday, I had the horrifying pleasure of letting other people give me notes on a script I’m working on. It was not finished, nor was I exceptionally proud of what I had written. However, I had agreed to share some work in my writing group so I did. One of the things that was both helpful and humbling is that I had broken some rules … Continue reading Writing About Writing: Let Other People Read Your Stuff

Writing About Writing: Ideas Are Overrated

Yesterday, my recently retired father started asking me about writing. He was considering taking a creative writing class but was worried about his ability to come up with ideas. His question seemed so simple. “How do you come up with your ideas?” And my eyes lit up. I rambled on and on about different scripts I’d written and how those ideas came to me. I … Continue reading Writing About Writing: Ideas Are Overrated

Writing About Writing: Likable vs. Interesting Characters

There are the characters that you want to drink a beer with, and there are the characters that you fear could throw a beer across the room at any moment. These are the two types of characters that every work needs: A likable character, and an interesting character. Now of course these two things are not mutually exclusive. However I’ve seen certain people allege that … Continue reading Writing About Writing: Likable vs. Interesting Characters

Writing About Writing: I Guess I Should Talk About Tone

I’ve just passed the halfway point in this project and it crossed my mind that I have yet to dedicate a post to the rather important topic of “tone.” “Tone” is what makes the 1971 Mel Stuart film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and the 2005 Tim Burton film Charlie and the Chocolate Factory entirely different movies. They have essentially the same characters following along essentially the same … Continue reading Writing About Writing: I Guess I Should Talk About Tone

Writing About Writing: Make Your Protagonist Active

So I consume a lot of different movies/television of a lot of different genres and over the years I’ve noticed there’s one quality that can make or break a protagonist. I like my protagonists active. Passive protagonists bore the hell out of me. What is the difference, you ask? Passive protagonists are defined almost exclusively by whatever situation they’re thrown into. Active protagonists are defined … Continue reading Writing About Writing: Make Your Protagonist Active

Writing About Writing: The Well-Informed Mystery Paradox

One of the hardest decisions a screenwriter has to make is deciding what you need to tell your audience and what you need to keep from the audience. How do you keep an audience in suspense while also keeping them informed? How do you make sure they understand your story without spoon-feeding it to them in a way that feels patronizing and belittling? How do … Continue reading Writing About Writing: The Well-Informed Mystery Paradox

Writing About Writing: Commitment Is Key

I am a firm believer that the most frustrating type of movie is not a bad one, but one just good enough to show you the potential it failed to reach. I’m talking about the movies that WANTED to be hardcore action flicks that wasted a little too much time on emotional drama. I’m talking about the movies that could’ve been ridiculously good horror movies … Continue reading Writing About Writing: Commitment Is Key

Writing About Writing: A Case for Something Instead of Character Bios

Maybe I’m beating a dead horse at this point, but thinking through your characters is really REALLY important. And I think sometimes conventional writing exercises designed to help you with characterization aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. (See Writing About Writing: A Case Against Character Bios) When I first realized that I enjoyed creative writing, I oftentimes would “characterize” simply by thinking about the … Continue reading Writing About Writing: A Case for Something Instead of Character Bios

Writing About Writing: Go Meet Some People

I am a bit of an anomaly as I am an extroverted writer. Maybe it’s not as exceptional as I perceive it is, but I always think of writing as a very introspective activity. But while extroversion sometimes makes it difficult to lock myself away and crank out pages the way I sometimes wish I could, I think in other ways it really benefits me. … Continue reading Writing About Writing: Go Meet Some People

Writing About Writing: Let’s Talk About Dialogue

I have a soft spot for dialogue. There. I said it. It’s a screenwriting sin, I know. You’re not supposed to write too much dialogue. It’s maybe the one note every screenwriter has heard: “Less dialogue. More action.” Or maybe it’s just a note I hear time and time again because I have a soft spot for dialogue and write too much of it. The … Continue reading Writing About Writing: Let’s Talk About Dialogue