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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.

Paring Down your Script

I can absolutely guarantee you, based on more than twenty years experience, that the second thing a reader (be she a script reader, development exec, agent, producer, or studio head) will do when she gets your script, is thumb through to the end t...

Read more... | Published: 03/03/08 | by Paul Chitlik

How Little Red Riding Hood Made Me a Writer

A story that made a big impression on me was "Little Red Riding Hood." I was ten and my mother said to me, "Who's the main character in the story?" I thought for a moment, and said, "Red Riding Hood." "How so?" "The story is called that," I sai...

Read more... | Published: 03/03/08 | by Christopher Keane

How to Get Your Script Read

The phone rang. It was a big shot producer from a major studio. "Hey, Ken, I love what you've done! What a great idea! I'm gonna steal it from you." Was he talking about one of my scripts? No. What he was talking about was - well, read on. Let'...

Read more... | Published: 03/03/08 | by Ken Rotcop

Moral Storytelling

The run-up to Oscar season has produced a surprising development in the ecology of ideas that underlies our popular culture. Hollywood storytelling has long been dominated by a high-speed linear form that packs as many thrills into two hours as po...

Read more... | Published: 02/11/08 | by John Truby

Genre Blending: The Romance of Adventure, and the Adventure of Romance

One of the most valuable skills for a writer to have is a command of genre. Whether you choose to specialize in a single genre, or want to platform your talent across several, understanding the conventions of genre can strengthen and deepen your w...

Read more... | Published: 02/04/08 | by Stuart Voytilla

Preparations & Consequences: Ways to Incorporate Emotion into the Plot

When characters share emotions with the audience, it deepens the experience of the story. Viewers are made available to the storyteller through emotion: writers seek an emotional connection with their audience the same way actors and directors do....

Read more... | Published: 02/04/08 | by Linda J. Cowgill

How to Write for Television: 4 Rules of Series TV

Break out of the box of traditional screenwriting assumptions! In this excerpt from Writing the TV Drama Series: Second Edition , Pamela Douglas gives you some new rules for writing television that have changed significantly in just the past co...

Read more... | Published: 02/04/08 | by Pamela Douglas

The Use of Flashbacks in Movies

At this moment in time, I think we're in the middle of a screenwriting revolution, a time where screenwriters are pushing the form and craft in new directions. I firmly believe that the traditional way of "seeing things" has changed, and we're loo...

Read more... | Published: 01/28/08 | by Syd Field

And the Best Screenplay Goes To: An Excerpt from Dr. Linda Seger's New Book

What makes an Academy Award-nominated script? As I wrote my newest book on three Academy Award-nominated films - Sideways, Shakespeare in Love, and Crash - I wondered if it would be possible to find patterns that seemed to be true for most of ...

Read more... | Published: 01/07/08 | by Linda Seger

How to Use Shot Headings

We've all heard the warning against overwriting our screenplays by including too much camera direction or too many slug lines. We worry about getting it wrong, because we're professionals. Or at least we want our scripts to make us look that way. ...

Read more... | Published: 01/07/08 | by Christopher Riley

Scenes to Cut, Those to Save

Most writers end up writing at least twice as many scenes as needed to produce a compelling story. One skill that defines a good writer is the ability to know which scenes to keep and which ones to kill off. As a plot consultant, I developed two v...

Read more... | Published: 12/03/07 | by Martha Alderson, M.A.

The Tragedy, Mystery and Romance of Genre

In my previous articles, The Essence of Story , Beyond Theme: Story's New Unified Field , and The Metaphor is King , I pointed out that all great stories have the same underlying, universal structure - namely, there is a threat, either ag...

Read more... | Published: 12/03/07 | by James Bonnet

Writing in Restaurants 2007

It's been more than two years since the last Writing in Restaurants, and in that time I've come across many new writing-friendly venues. Today, I'll be serving a five-course meal of writing tips as I introduce you to some of my latest favorites. U...

Read more... | Published: 12/03/07 | by Jonathan Dorf

The Character Web

Have you ever noticed whom the actors thank when they win an Oscar? They profusely thank the director for "getting the performance out of them." They thank their agent, their husbands, wives, extended family and distant ancestors, the crew, the st...

Read more... | Published: 11/13/07 | by John Truby

How NOT to Enter a Screenwriting Contest

When I founded the Mona Schreiber Prize for Humorous Fiction and Nonfiction in 2000, I did it to honor my mother, who wrote articles for magazines and newspapers, and taught writing in San Mateo County in Northern California. When I formulated th...

Read more... | Published: 11/13/07 | by Brad Schreiber

The Moment of Clarity

I was listening to a speaker talk to a group of us the other night and 45 minutes into it, I was looking for the door. The subject was the speaker's life and I have to tell ya, it wasn't grabbin' me. Incident after incident was unveiled, stories...

Read more... | Published: 10/08/07 | by Blake Snyder

Going Beyond Just Writing

I recently sat on a panel with four other veteran TV writer/producers at the 2007 UCLA Writer's Faire. Our panel's topic was, Writing Funny TV: The New World of Sitcoms and Spec Pilots. What is this new world of sitcoms and spec pilots? I'm no...

Read more... | Published: 10/08/07 | by Sheldon Bull

Dreams on Spec

I was sitting in a well-furnished office on the 20th Century Fox lot, asking James L. Brooks ("Terms of Endearment," "As Good as It Gets," "Broadcast News") about the art and craft of screenwriting. "I never knew anybody," he was saying, "who eve...

Read more... | Published: 09/10/07 | by Daniel Snyder

The Way of Story

We are taught many things in school, but all too often, this is linear learning, textbook learning. I can remember sitting in classrooms as a child staring aimlessly out of the window at passing clouds. The teacher's verdict was I was wasting my t...

Read more... | Published: 09/10/07 | by Catherine Ann Jones

Plot Reversals Shown in Scene

In real life, some people skate from one success to the next. Others hit a flat-line long before they ever actually die. Unlike people, all story characters suffer both ups and downs throughout the entire story. These reversals play out in three ...

Read more... | Published: 08/06/07 | by Martha Alderson, M.A.

Finding and Developing New Ideas

How many times have you heard someone say, "I have a great idea for a movie," and then never do anything with it? They don't remember it later or they never actually put words on paper. On top of that, there are many people who think they have a g...

Read more... | Published: 08/06/07 | by Rona Edwards & Monika Skerbelis

Your Mind is the Key to Your Success

Henry Ford said, "If you think you can, or if you think you can't, you're right." He knew that the mind is a key component to success. Are you using your mind to fund your film? My job is to read hundreds of film proposals for the Roy W. Dean fil...

Read more... | Published: 07/09/07 | by Carole Lee Dean

A Dash of Style: The Period, Part 4

In last month's excerpt from my book, A Dash of Style: The Art and Mastery of Punctuation , we discussed a few of the dangers of underuse of the period, as well as the role that context plays in punctuation. In this, the final installment, we'l...

Read more... | Published: 07/09/07 | by Noah Lukeman

A Dash of Style: The Period, Part 3

In last month's installment of my book A Dash of Style: The Art and Mastery of Punctuation , we discussed a few of the potential dangers of overusing the period. In this month's installment, we'll examine a few of the dangers of under use, a...

Read more... | Published: 06/06/07 | by Noah Lukeman

The Metaphor is King

All great stories have the same structure (see my articles on The Essence of Story and Beyond Theme: Story's New Unified Field ) which, for the purpose of this article and in its simplest form, can be summarized as follows: A threat, either...

Read more... | Published: 06/06/07 | by James Bonnet