INSIDE THE ART, CRAFT AND BUSINESS OF WRITING for Film, TV, Books, Stage, Print or Digital Media (with Particular Attention to Comedy)

The Shaula Evans Comedy Punch-Up Method (from the Blacklist)

The Shaula Evans Comedy Punch-Up Method 1. Comedy needs a story spine to hang on. Fix up structural, character, and plot problems before you start your punch up. (See also: … Continue reading

March 8, 2014 · 6 Comments

The Feedback Loop: How to Use Readers for Your Rewrite(s)

Ask ten writers for their opinion and you’ll get at least a dozen different opinions – and yet… After you’ve written a draft of your book or script (much less … Continue reading

November 3, 2013 · 1 Comment

Generic Script Rewrite Note #1: Too Many Characters

I recently gave a client notes on the first draft of a screenplay. Among my biggest notes was that the central emotional storyline was getting diluted because it was spread … Continue reading

September 1, 2013 · Leave a comment

3 Criteria of the Bechdel Gender Imbalance Test (from Alison Bechdel & Liz Wallace)

1. Does [your project] contain two or more female characters who have names? 2. Do those characters talk to each other? 3. Do they discuss something other than a man?

June 27, 2013 · Leave a comment

Rewrite Principals (Pt. 1)

1) Less words Awesome art by Ryo Shimizu

June 8, 2013 · Leave a comment

7 Tools for Critical Thinking (from Philosopher Daniel Dennett)

As I say in my book, “How To Be A Writer Who Writes”, (a phrase I love saying and really should say more), different phases of the writing process call … Continue reading

May 24, 2013 · 2 Comments

Space Talk: What Astronauts Can Teach You About Writing Dialog

Thanks to 101books for this funny post on what the astronauts can teach us about writing dialog. 101 Books doesn’t specify, but I’d say this excellent snippet of dialog can … Continue reading

May 2, 2013 · Leave a comment

Why I Love Index Cards as a Writing Tool (Pt. 2): Full-Color Edition

Writing doesn’t always look like ‘writing’. For the last 2-3 weeks, my work on the current screenplay has consisted of staring at a wall of index cards (in photo at … Continue reading

April 11, 2013 · 5 Comments

How To Get Feedback on Your Draft

“Don’t pay any attention to the critics—don’t even ignore them.”  — Samuel Goldwyn 1.  Get feedback BEFORE re-reading your draft (if you can possibly wait) 2.  Ask for the kind of feedback you … Continue reading

March 21, 2013 · 1 Comment

When to Stop Rewriting (Pt. 1): Don’t Be a Chicken

If you can’t tell whether a scene is better before or after that 4th rewrite, stop. Like a doctor who takes the Hippocratic Oath, rewriters should “first do no harm”. … Continue reading

March 18, 2013 · 1 Comment

Rewrite Desk: 4 Reasons to Cut Something and 14 Things to Cut

“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” — Michelangelo I’m a cutter. I love deleting. Sometimes I don’t wait to re-plan the rewrite. Sometimes … Continue reading

March 10, 2013 · 2 Comments

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