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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.

Why You Don't Need an Agent - Yet

Trying to wedge a toe-hold in Hollywood as a screenwriter or TV writer is exhausting, frustrating, maddening, heart breaking, humiliating, confusing, and not just a little bit scary. I know. During the blastocyst period of my career, I was trying...

Read more... | Published: 05/07/07 | by Sheldon Bull

Creative License vs. Creative Arrangement

A teacher of screenwriting emailed me recently because he'd been asked to write a documentary. He didn't know where to start, and was trying to locate some completed scripts to study. While these might prove useful, I knew they wouldn't adequately...

Read more... | Published: 05/07/07 | by Sheila Curran Bernard

A Dash of Style: The Period, part 2

In last month's excerpt from my book, A Dash of Style: The Art and Mastery of Punctuation , we discussed different ways to use the period. This time, we'll examine a few of the dangers of overuse. There is a major distinction between using p...

Read more... | Published: 05/07/07 | by Noah Lukeman

Special Effects: The Swiss Army Knife of Filmmaking

Special effects have evolved in the last several years into the "Swiss Army Knife" of filmmaking. At one time, special effects were only used for "physical" needs such as rain, smoke, wind, explosions, breaking glass, bullet hits, etc. With the ad...

Read more... | Published: 04/03/07 | by Michael Slone

Finding Inspiration in the Cookie Aisle

The arrival of Daylight Savings Time three weeks early this year heralds the approach of a long stretch of summer for you to finally get cracking on that screenplay you've always wanted to write. There's only one obstacle: Where to find a fresh s...

Read more... | Published: 04/03/07 | by Christina Hamlett

A Dash of Style: The Period

In celebration of the paperback release of Noah Lukeman's seminal guide to punctuation, A Dash of Style , The Writers Store is pleased to present a four part series of excerpts from the book. Some authors, like Camus, Carver and Ernest Hemi...

Read more... | Published: 04/03/07 | by Noah Lukeman

When a Scene Just Won't Do

Most of a writer's genius comes in the art of the finesse. How finely you craft your project before you let it go is up to each individual writer. As a plot consultant, I developed the Scene Tracker Kit to help writers finesse their scenes. A...

Read more... | Published: 03/05/07 | by Martha Alderson, M.A.

Opening Your Art

As conscious artists and enlightened-entertainers-in-training, we have to fight a never-ending battle for our art. Or so it seems. Our implements of war are not guns and bombs, but awareness and attention. And the only enemy we ever truly have to ...

Read more... | Published: 02/05/07 | by Derek Rydall

How to Write a Pitch in 8 Essential Steps

Selling a screenplay or a novel is simple. It's not easy, but it's simple. First: write a great story . Then: get lots and lots of people to read it . You can have the greatest, most commercial, most brilliantly written screenplay or manu...

Read more... | Published: 06/24/16 | by Michael Hauge

A Character's Fatal Flaw: The Vital Element for Bringing Characters to Life

Growth is the by-product of a cycle that occurs in nature; that which flowers and fruits will also eventually wither and go to seed. The seed, of course, contains the potential for renewal, but does not guarantee it, nor does the seed instantly s...

Read more... | Published: 01/08/07 | by Dara Marks

Bulletproof your Script against Reader Rejection

As a produced screenwriter and script consultant, I have had the privilege of interviewing and working with dozens of studio and production company script readers. And what I've discovered are a handful of key things that they look for when judgin...

Read more... | Published: 12/05/06 | by Derek Rydall

View from the Distribution Side

In his new book, Independent Film Distribution , film journalist Phil Hall offers an unflinching look into the world of independent film distribution. In the excerpt below, Phil interviews expert Gregory Hatanaka, who provides a bevy of insider t...

Read more... | Published: 12/05/06 | by Phil Hall

A Script by Any Other Name? The Sale is Just as Sweet

You've dotted all your "i's," you've crossed all your "t's," you've read every book on how to pitch your script in person, by mail, and online. Yet there it continues to sit. Unsold. Unwanted. Unloved. Maybe the problem isn't that it's an unsala...

Read more... | Published: 11/07/06 | by Christina Hamlett

Characters Make the Plot

This year, reviewers have consistently complained about a lack of character emotional development in the movies. At the same time, Hollywood reports a slump in box office sales. Are the two related? Perhaps. Even the top five moneymaking movies fo...

Read more... | Published: 11/07/06 | by Martha Alderson, M.A.

Lean and Mean: Using Reverse Cause and Effect to Construct a Tight Script

The work of the amateur screenwriter is often characterized by the Unnecessary. Dialogue and description are often overdone, scenes tend to be overwritten, acts are bloated, and so on. You may have entire scenes that are unnecessary, perhaps even ...

Read more... | Published: 10/02/06 | by Jeff Kitchen

Nature as Mythic Storyteller

Films that last often have a mythic quality. Like great children's stories, we consume these films as we do ageless fables. Unlike lesser stories, the lessons learned in these films carry a universal authority that seems to transcend man. Biblica...

Read more... | Published: 10/02/06 | by Jennifer Van Sijll

The Secret Language of Great Stories

Visual metaphors are the secret language of great stories. In this article, I will discuss what they are and the source of their power. Great stories and dreams are among the more important visual metaphors. They are symbolic languages. And their...

Read more... | Published: 09/06/06 | by James Bonnet

Breaking the Screenwriting Rules

Everybody in Hollywood knows the top three rules of screenwriting: 1. Write what you know. 2. Films must have a happy ending. 3. Films must have three acts. But few people know what these rules all have in common: They are all wrong. Rule #1:...

Read more... | Published: 07/31/06 | by Howard Suber

Goals Define the Plot

In every story plot and movie plot, the protagonist (and for that matter, all of the major characters) has at least one long-term goal in the story, and one small goal or more in every scene. Goals give definition to the overall story that unfolds...

Read more... | Published: 07/31/06 | by Martha Alderson, M.A.

Say Goodbye to Writer's Block: Introducing the Moral Premise

I hate writer's block, and I'm sure you do, too. If you're like most writers you have a file drawer full of stories started but never completed. The ideas were great, or so you thought. They kept you awake far into the night pecking them out. Now,...

Read more... | Published: 07/04/06 | by Stanley D. Williams

Using Contrasts to Spice Up an Animation Script

Does your animation script seem a little flat? Be honest. The problem could be that you haven't included enough contrasts in your script. Variety is just as important in a script as it is in a gourmet feast. Characters Build your script around...

Read more... | Published: 06/06/06 | by Jean Ann Wright

13 Things Bad Screenwriters Commonly Do

Having been the director of development for TV/film director Jonathan Kaplan ( Unlawful Entry , The Accused , NBC's E.R. ), I had the unique and special opportunity to read screenplays, as well as fiction and non-fiction books and articles, to s...

Read more... | Published: 06/06/06 | by Brad Schreiber

A Dash of Style - Part Four

In last week's installment of my book, A Dash of Style: The Art and Mastery of Punctuation , we began to discuss ways that quotation marks might be misused. In this final installment, we'll examine this issue in depth, and also look at the power ...

Read more... | Published: 05/03/06 | by Noah Lukeman

Cinematic Storytelling: Dynamic Metaphors

Think of the rose petals in American Beauty , the bird imagery in Shawshank Redemption or Leon's beloved houseplant in The Professional . These metaphors stay with us long after the movie. Like the sled in Citizen Kane , they work as visual ...

Read more... | Published: 05/03/06 | by Jennifer Van Sijll

How the Great Myths and Legends Were Created

The great myths and legends were not authored by individuals the way stories are today but were evolved naturally and instinctively by unconscious processes in oral traditions. Even if they started out as made-up or true stories, revelations or dr...

Read more... | Published: 04/03/06 | by James Bonnet