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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 Short Attention Span Screenwriter

I know over five hundred screenwriters - maybe more - ranging in age from 18 to 76, at all levels, from those just starting out to a bunch that've gotten deals, sold scripts and had movies made. They include friends, former students, colleagues, p...

Read more... | Published: 05/09/05 | by D.B. Gilles

What's Wrong with the Three Act Structure?

The three act structure is not a story structure. You can't find it in myths and legends or other great stories of the past and you can't find it in nature. So why is it being applied to the screenplay or the story of a film? It's a good question ...

Read more... | Published: 04/25/05 | by James Bonnet

The Importance of the Journey - Part Six

In the previous issue, we examined interdependent journeys, obstacles and destiny, and how all of these might affect the journey and the characters in your work. In this, the final installment, we'll take it one step further, and see if we can't e...

Read more... | Published: 04/11/05 | by Noah Lukeman

Creating a Hero - American Style

People often ask me what makes a great story. In my recently published book Screenwriting is Storytelling (Penguin Putnam, 2004) this complex subject is addressed in depth; and the foundations of screenwriting are conveyed through the major elem...

Read more... | Published: 04/11/05 | by Kate Wright

The Importance of the Journey - Part Five

Last issue we looked at some of the outside influences that might impact a character's traditional journey, such as his beginning, his destination and circumstance. In this installment we'll continue to examine outside influences which might affec...

Read more... | Published: 03/29/05 | by Noah Lukeman

How to Copyright a Script and Protect Your Work

To steal someone's car, money, parking space - that's low. But to steal someone's story? A little made-up tale? A hundred pages of FADE IN here and CUT TO there? Is that even stealing? Um, how can we put this - YES, DAMMIT! It is! Stealing of the...

Read more... | Published: 03/29/05 | by Evan Smith

Hollywood's Best Kept Secret: The Expanded Scene Breakdown

What is Hollywood's Best Kept Screenwriting Secret? Answer: The Expanded Scene Breakdown. What is the Expanded Scene Breakdown? It's the middle step between the story development stage and the script itself. Another step in the screenwriting proc...

Read more... | Published: 03/15/05 | by Christopher Keane

The Importance of the Journey - Part Four

Last issue we examined the 7 surface journeys, and learned how finance, friendships, physical change, education, stature and family can quickly and effectively impact a character's journey. We've by now covered all of the profound and surface jour...

Read more... | Published: 03/15/05 | by Noah Lukeman

Why the Heck are we in this Business?

Five years ago, we set forth from Maryland cross-country to Los Angeles. We were following a script we had sent out there a few weeks before. The script was being submitted to producers and studios as we drove across the heartland, and our agent i...

Read more... | Published: 02/28/05 | by The Brothers Heimberg

The Importance of the Journey - Part Three

Last time we introduced the idea of the "surface" journey, a journey which lacks the depth of a "profound" journey but which is nonetheless highly visible and a powerful aid in complementing a work. One of the seven surface journeys (such as roman...

Read more... | Published: 02/28/05 | by Noah Lukeman

Tales from the Digital Frontier: Breakthroughs in Storytelling

As writers, we are practitioners of an ancient art: the art of storytelling. Storytelling is a continually evolving form of expression. The first storytellers had only one simple tool at their disposal - the spoken word. Later storytellers had mor...

Read more... | Published: 02/14/05 | by Carolyn Handler Miller

The Importance of the Journey - Part Two

Last week we looked at the three profound journeys. This week we'll turn to the seven "surface" journeys, journeys which are less profound, but equally important when crafting fiction. The profound journeys are internal and substantial; the surfac...

Read more... | Published: 02/14/05 | by Noah Lukeman

The Importance of the Journey - Part One

"Writing a book is like driving a car at night. You only see as far as your headlights go, but you can make the whole trip that way." -E.L. Doctorow Hollywood studios test market their major motion pictures before releasing them to the public. T...

Read more... | Published: 01/31/05 | by Noah Lukeman

Be the Writer You Want to Be Now

This morning I received an Industry email with a headline reading "Get it together. Start fresh!" I don't want a fresh start. Despite all of the spiked eggnog-fueled New Year's Eve resolutions we make, the winter months can end up as creatively ...

Read more... | Published: 01/17/05 | by Michael Lent

Breaking into Television Writing

Reader Lauren Machin from Atlanta, Georgia asks: How do I become a television writer if I don't have any contacts? Writer/Producer Lee Goldberg responds: I get this question a lot, but it's disingenuous, since I'm a TV writer/producer and ...

Read more... | Published: 01/04/05 | by Lee Goldberg

Blockbuster Plots by Threes

If you make explicit what you already know intuitively about the structure of movies and stories, you'll have yourself a conscious plotting tool. The rhythm of story is in all of us right now, especially for those who were read to as youngsters an...

Read more... | Published: 12/06/04 | by Martha Alderson, M.A.

Writing the Action Script

With a good Action script you can write your own ticket. But Action is the most deceptively challenging genre in Hollywood. What may seem simple and straightforward on the movie screen actually requires careful planning and extremely creative solu...

Read more... | Published: 11/08/04 | by John Truby

The Playwright's Guide to Submitting Smarter: A Baker's Dozen Tips to Maximize Your Chances and Minimize Your Aggravation

Your new play is finally ready for submission. ("New play" means your targets are theatre companies and contests - save publishers for plays with a production history.) Of course, too many writers think their scripts are finished when they're not,...

Read more... | Published: 10/24/04 | by Jonathan Dorf

Dare to Dream - Write Anyway!

Writers dream deep with eyes open. We dream about stories, characters and themes - about villains, heroes, ladies and dragons. But mostly we dream about writing. We dream about having written, about the process of writing, about the feeling we get...

Read more... | Published: 10/24/04 | by Marilyn Beker

Until Life (Plus 70) Do Us Part - The Writer's Prenup

For many writers, working with a collaborator is great. Instead of sitting in a room, alone, staring at the wall, waiting for inspiration to strike, now there are two of you, together, sitting in a room, discussing last night's episode of The Dai...

Read more... | Published: 10/10/04 | by Larry Zerner ESQ

The Real Key to a Writer's Success

We all know how incredibly hard it is to get a screenplay produced. We have all heard talk about all the great scripts out there that never got made. And that might be true. But why is it true? If you have a professionally crafted screenplay, one ...

Read more... | Published: 09/27/04 | by James Bonnet

Securing Representation

On behalf of Crescendo Entertainment Group I attend a number of screenwriting conferences and events throughout the year. In doing this, I am able to get out there and meet screenwriters and hopefully impart a bit of advice to the many who are loo...

Read more... | Published: 09/13/04 | by Marc Hernandez

What You Should Do When Someone Wants to Option Your Screenplay

One of the best phone calls a writer can receive is when someone calls and wants to option his or her screenplay! For many writers, this can seem like a dream come true because it validates the months they have toiled away on their laptop, losing...

Read more... | Published: 09/13/04 | by Jonathan Treisman

John Truby's Comic Journey

Writing is a craft, and undoubtedly it's the most complicated craft in the world. That's why I put so much emphasis on specific, practical techniques. Big esoteric words and inspirational slogans may sound good, but they don't get the story on the...

Read more... | Published: 08/30/04 | by John Truby

The Five S's of Screenwriting

Working with Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Jason Miller and the legendary Tennessee Williams offered me a tremendous entrée into the magical world of storytelling. As American icons, their extraordinary talent inspired the world; and as screen...

Read more... | Published: 08/16/04 | by Kate Wright