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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 End is the Beginning

An agent flings a promising work against the wall. When asked why, she rages about all the times she has read entire manuscripts only to be disappointed in the end. She softens as she explains how, by the time she reaches the final quarter of the ...

Read more... | Published: 03/02/09 | by Martha Alderson, M.A.

The Storywheel

In this article, I will introduce you to a new phenomenon called the Storywheel, which brings all the different types of story together into one grand design. To help picture the Storywheel, visualize a wheel with eight spokes. Then, starting at ...

Read more... | Published: 03/02/09 | by James Bonnet

The Toughest Part: Getting Started

"I'm gonna write a screenplay" "Good!" "I've got this great idea for a story. I'm really excited" "Go for it." "Except, I've got this problem." "Oh?" "I stare at my computer and all it does is stare back at me!" "Have you tried using the ke...

Read more... | Published: 02/02/09 | by Ken Rotcop

Surefire Formula for Writing Success

Archangel Shecky makes an arrogant pronouncement that he can teach infallible, irrefutable, unassailable, one-size-fits-all formula for success. "Who is this blowhard who makes such an astounding claim?" you ask. I'm glad you did. He's the lead ch...

Read more... | Published: 02/02/09 | by Gene Perret

The Screenwriter's Vision

I'm going to let you in on a secret. Some years ago I found a simple technique that turned me into a better writer, producer and director. I stumbled across this technique by accident, due to an unusual illness. The good news for you is that you d...

Read more... | Published: 01/05/09

Keeping Your Writing Resolutions

Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual. - Mark Twain Ah, January! A new year, a fresh slate, a virtual meadow of pristine winter white that stretches for mile...

Read more... | Published: 01/05/09 | by Christina Hamlett

The Coming Age of Story

The interest in story is greater now than it has ever been, and - putting aside for a moment the movie business, television, book publishing, other major producers of story and their consumers - that interest now extends to every facet of our soci...

Read more... | Published: 12/01/08 | by James Bonnet

Do It Right, Period

The Duchess was such a disappointment. Though the wigs were beyond fabulous and the sets stunningly gorgeous and aristocratically dignified, the characters were flat, their dialogue practically non-existent, and their emotions understandably abs...

Read more... | Published: 12/01/08 | by Pamela Jaye Smith

How to Plan an Unscripted Documentary

How do you make a documentary when you have no script? I was faced with this problem when I shot my first unscripted documentary for a class in documentary filmmaking. We had the assignment of making an 8–12 minute unscripted documentary. I starte...

Read more... | Published: 12/01/08 | by Tony Levelle

Shamanic Screenwriting

Shamans were the first master storytellers. As the preeminent narrators of our age, screenwriters can share in this venerable heritage. And in so doing, you can help reverse movie making's current disastrous trend of taking us deeper and deeper in...

Read more... | Published: 11/05/08 | by Mary Trainor-Brigham

Excerpt from "Your Screenplay Sucks!: 100 Ways to Make it Great"

I've been doing exactly what you do, writing, for a long, long time. I've taught and critiqued screenwriters for almost that long, and, lo and behold, I discovered that all beginning writers make the same mistakes. So I wrote a book, a checklist...

Read more... | Published: 11/05/08 | by William M Akers

Can Movies Make a Difference?

In 1994, Quentin Taratino wrote a fictional story about Mickey & Mallory Knox, a honeymoon couple who, as a perverse aphrodisiac, randomly shot and killed over 50 people. Oliver Stone directed the film and the week it opened, a real young coup...

Read more... | Published: 10/06/08 | by Catherine Ann Jones

Musings on the Art of Cinematography

Imagine being able to learn about something as complex as the Art of Cinematography in only half an hour or a weekend. Isn't that what we all want today, in our new millennium, instant gratification world of the Internet, High Def, GoogleEarth and...

Read more... | Published: 10/06/08 | by David Worth

Hell is Other People: A Look Back at Goodfellas

I admit I'm something of a contrarian. I don't believe that all good scripts follow the same three-act structure, and I don't believe we have to like our protagonists. A film like Goodfellas (written by Nicholas Pileggi and Martin Scorsese) offe...

Read more... | Published: 09/02/08 | by Robin Russin

Why Based on a True Story Movies Repeatedly Unravel

Based on a true story is one of those unfortunate catch-phrases that usually has the opposite effect in courting a producer's enthusiasm than most writers assume. Of the several hundred projects a year I review as a script consultant, nearly 20% ...

Read more... | Published: 09/02/08 | by Christina Hamlett

Connecting with Audiences Through Character Emotions

Moviegoers and readers identify with stories through the characters. The most powerful way to reach an audience is through the characters' emotions. For only when we connect with the characters on an emotional level, does the interaction become de...

Read more... | Published: 08/04/08 | by Martha Alderson, M.A.

How to Write a Query Letter the Right Way

A great query letter is your key to unlocking an executive's door. Take your time and be as thoughtful about your query as you were when writing your screenplay. Industry professionals view query letters as a reflection of the writer's screenplay ...

Read more... | Published: 08/04/08 | by Susan Kouguell

Breaking In - Through Hollywood's Back Door

When you write your first screenplay, the path to glory seems clear: find an agent who will get you a six-figure deal. A hundred and fifty query letters later, you're languishing at Hollywood's front gate. You've received a lot of encouragement, b...

Read more... | Published: 06/30/08 | by David Trottier

Choosing the Right Idea for a Film or Book

When Dorothy Fadiman agreed to be a poll watcher in the U.S. presidential elections of 2004, she thought she was only volunteering to work on Election Day. She had no idea that what she saw would trigger the idea of making a movie about U.S. elect...

Read more... | Published: 06/30/08 | by Tony Levelle

Finding your Mentor

This year I began a mentorship program through my website. After a few years of building up students who knew my methods and can speak my language, there's finally a tiny community of like-minded souls that believe in the way I learned to do thing...

Read more... | Published: 06/02/08 | by Chris Soth

Filmmaking: A Mutual Adventure

"Whether he likes it or not (and as a rule he does not like it much), the man who wants to express himself on celluloid is part of a group. If individual and personal self-expression is what he wants, he is in the wrong business." -Alexander Macke...

Read more... | Published: 06/02/08 | by Richard D Pepperman

The Lure of the Dark Side

What is it that lures people over to the Dark Side? Your audience wants to find out how people and things go bad, so in your story, be sure to reveal some of how the characters become the way they are -- not to excuse their behavior but to get ...

Read more... | Published: 05/05/08 | by Pamela Jaye Smith

Taking the Mystery Out of How to Write a Mystery

If you saw the season-ending episode of Monk , do you remember the clue that helped catch the killer? Me, neither. In the recent thriller Fractured , what was the mistake Anthony Hopkins made that proved he killed his wife? You got me. My po...

Read more... | Published: 05/05/08 | by Dennis Palumbo

Writing is Rewriting

As a screenwriter, you may use other script consultants to critique your material, but inevitably you'll need to master the ability to analyze your own work. This can be a difficult task, somewhat akin to trying to look at your own face (without a...

Read more... | Published: 03/31/08 | by Derek Rydall

Narrative Structure and Infinite Creative Possibilities

In my previous articles - The Essence of Story, Beyond Theme: Story's New Unified Field, The Metaphor Is King , and The Tragedy, Mystery, and Romance of Genre , I pointed out that all great stories have the same underlying, universal structure -...

Read more... | Published: 03/31/08 | by James Bonnet