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Advice > Best Writing Advice from Writing Experts

Soak up knowledge as writing experts divulge insider secrets and tips to help screenwriters, playwrights and filmmakers everywhere with expert writing advice needed to help hone the craft of writing. Whether it be novel writing advice, writer interviews, screenwriting advice articles, or general screenwriting help that is desired, these writing experts are focused on helping writers everywhere further their skills in every facet of writing.

The Three Cosmic Rules of Writing

As a veteran writer and a licensed psychotherapist specializing in writers' issues, I know enough to know there aren't any rules when it comes to writing. Except for the following, which I modestly call the Three Cosmic Rules of Writing. I'm seri...

Read more... | Published: 12/31/01 | by Dennis Palumbo

Fishing for the Hook

Often you'll hear producers, agents and others whom writers must deal with asking them for more of 'a hook' to their pitches or screenplays. What exactly a hook is, is rarely spelled out; they just know they want one. It's sort of like the problem...

Read more... | Published: 12/31/01 | by William Missouri Downs

Why Good Writers Keep Journals

Journals have been the secret weapon for writers from Allen Ginsburg to Virginia Woolf to Victor Hugo. Make it your secret weapon, too. Skilled writers have developed their own voices -- unique ways to express themselves. They have learned to ope...

Read more... | Published: 12/31/01 | by Ruth Folit

Do You Have to Live in Hollywood?

I wrote 'The Writer's Guide to Producers, Directors and Screenwriters' Agents' somewhat by accident. I quit Hollywood in disgust after two feature screenplays were purchased, but not filmed, this after years of options and some TV work, but no fea...

Read more... | Published: 12/31/01 | by Skip Press

Six Points About Character, Plot, and Dialogue You Wish You'd Have Known Yesterday

If you could sit down in a chair next to the editor of work by James Baldwin, Elia Kazan, Jack Higgins, Jacques Barzun, David Frost, Budd Schulberg, Dylan Thomas and Lionel Trilling, what could that editor say that would be immediately helpful to ...

Read more... | Published: 12/31/01 | by Sol Stein

The Matrix - An Appreciation

I loved The Matrix -- loved the action, loved the situation and characters, but most of all, I loved the idea behind the film. It was Samuel Taylor Coleridge, the 19th century poet and literary critic, who coined the concept known as 'the willing ...

Read more... | Published: 12/31/01 | by Syd Field

Healing the Hollywood Heart

There are hundreds of ways your heart can break in Hollywood. The good news is that there are hundreds of ways you can heal it as well. Here are a few to utilize when you're just starting out. Have you seen the bumper sticker that reads 'Just Say...

Read more... | Published: 12/31/01 | by Viki King

Classic Story Structure Begins with Plot

What do we mean by Plot? Simply, plot is WHAT HAPPENS in a short story, novel, play or film. No more, no less. It isn't description or dialogue, and it certainly isn't theme. In the best stories, plot grows organically out of character, rather tha...

Read more... | Published: 12/31/01 | by Adam Sexton

How to Write Badly to Write Better

In a previous column, I noted that the magic bullet for writing success is to Be Good At What You Do. If you want to be a writer, learn to write. That earlier article practically guaranteed that if you became a good writer and continued to become ...

Read more... | Published: 12/31/01 | by Gene Perret

The Mystery Defined

Mystery and detective fiction comprises a literature of questions. Who done it, of course, is the classic question. There's also what was done*? How was it done? Why was it done? An even more fundamental question, though, is this: what is a myster...

Read more... | Published: 12/31/01 | by Guy Magar

A Screenwriter's Challenge: Visualization

'Heck, we'll just write them, and let the directors worry about visualization!' More often than not, and consciously or not, this seems to be the mindset of most writers based on the many hundreds of screenplays that have crossed my desk at all l...

Read more... | Published: 12/31/01 | by Guy Magar

Exercises to Nurture the Creative Process

Linda Seger is a popular consultant and lecturer who travels throughout the world speaking to new and established filmmakers on creative ways to make a screenplay great. In this segment of an in-depth interview she gave to Writers Store staffers, ...

Read more... | Published: 12/31/01 | by Linda Seger

Writing in Restaurants

Some writers do their best work hunched over the computers at their desks. Others work in libraries. Or at the beach. But I like nothing better than writing in a restaurant. While some people are terrified at the prospect of dining alone, for me i...

Read more... | Published: 12/31/01 | by Jonathan Dorf

What's My Genre?

I've spoken before in this column about the fact that 95% of writers fail in the premise. You may come up with a terrific one-line idea for a movie, but if you don't develop it the right way, the best scene writing in the world won't make a differ...

Read more... | Published: 12/31/01 | by John Truby

On Journaling

Journal writing is a wonderful way to know yourself and to discover exciting ideas inside you. There are many ways to apply journal writing. As a script consultant and as a licensed psychotherapist in private practice in Los Angeles, I have used j...

Read more... | Published: 12/31/01 | by Rachel Ballon

How do I Treat my Treatment?

Question: I have completed my screenplay, but I never wrote a treatment. I met a producer who wants to see a treatment only. Some people say a treatment should be three pages long, some say 12. Any advice? Michael Halperin, author of 'Writing the...

Read more... | Published: 12/31/01 | by Michael Halperin

Is it a Story Analyst or a Reader?

Question: I keep hearing about these mysterious story analysts who will be charged, hopefully, with reading my script. Who are they and what are they like? Marisa D'Vari responds: Story analysts (or readers, as they are sometimes called) come in ...

Read more... | Published: 12/31/01 | by Marisa D'Vari

The Myth of Sacred Writing Time

I would like to address a problem that many writers contend with every day. It's a problem that can delay a project's completion by a few days, or it can stop work dead in its tracks, leaving it permanently unfinished. It can hinder a single proje...

Read more... | Published: 12/31/01 | by Stephen Berger

Five Secrets to Writing Screenplays that Sell

This past summer (1999) 12 movies earned more than $100 million at the U.S. box office. Though they ranged from low budget horror to big budget sci-fi western, and included romantic comedy, broad comedy, children's special effects comedy, mystery ...

Read more... | Published: 12/31/01 | by Michael Hauge

On What's a Screenplay

What is a Screenplay? Most people ask me the same thing about the craft of screenwriting: What's the most common problem I find with people writing scripts? I tell them that most of the problems I encounter deal with 'telling their story in dialo...

Read more... | Published: 12/31/01 | by Syd Field

Mining Your Mind: Journal Techniques for Writers

Writers practice the advice of Sir Francis Bacon, even if they are not aware of his precise words: 'A (wo)man would do well to carry a pencil in his pocket and write down the thoughts of the moment. Those that come unsought are commonly the most v...

Read more... | Published: 12/31/01 | by Ruth Folit

The Conference Call -- Getting The Most Out Of Your Conference Dollar

If you're an emerging novelist or screenwriter, it's likely that you've attended or are thinking of attending a writers conference. Where else can you take classes to help you hone your craft, listen to panels of experts giving advice, or meet wit...

Read more... | Published: 12/31/01 | by Kathie Fong Yoneda

The Writer's True Self and Success

There is little doubt that your ability to communicate your inner world as a form of creative expression will be greatly enhanced by a strong sense of self -- a self which comes from an ability to discern who you are and who (for the sake of other...

Read more... | Published: 12/31/01 | by Howard Gluss

Universal Themes, Unique Perspectives

What's happening with screenwriters around the world? How are they being trained? What are they writing about? What are their concerns? In 1988, I began giving seminars abroad, first in Australia and New Zealand, then Rome and England and Moscow ...

Read more... | Published: 12/31/01 | by Linda Seger

Secrets of Blockbuster Movies - Part IV - Deep Structure

Secrets of Blockbuster Movies Part IV Writing for Hollywood requires more than a good premise and strong storytelling ability. You also have to write what Hollywood wants to sell. In today's entertainment business, that means a script with block...

Read more... | Published: 12/31/01 | by John Truby