The trouble with treatments.

Bob wants to write a screenplay. He’s smart, he’s creative, and he writes every day. He’s written some mediocre screenplays, but they took a long time to write, even when he had the help of college classes and a kindly professor. Bob has never been good at outlining. He’s a big picture guy, he findsContinue reading “The trouble with treatments.”

Five practical considerations for your next (or first) project

We write scripts to sell, to build our skills, and to get considered for other work. In that spirit I present the following suggestions.  1. Work in an extant genre It’s easy to see if a genre script works or not. A thriller thrills, a horror scares, a comedy amuses. Readers can compare genre scriptsContinue reading “Five practical considerations for your next (or first) project”


You have too much stuff: too many things, too many ideas, too many projects, too many commitments. This mental clutter creates static that prevents you from focusing your creativity in a productive way. There’s always the temptation to write multiple stories at once, but people are not good at multitasking. The beginning writer should haveContinue reading “5 REASONS TO FOCUS ON ONE PROJECT AT A TIME”

How perfectionism compounds procrastination.

“The perfect is the enemy of the good.” ~ Voltaire I haven’t blogged in a while.  At first, it was a simple lapse in discipline (not writing is super easy and amazingly fun), but then I started feeling guilty, and then and shame compounded my non-writery.  Then, worst of all, I started getting lofty.  AsContinue reading “How perfectionism compounds procrastination.”


People often talk of “character arcs.”  Arcs a fancy byword for “character change.”  Think of your hero as a work in progress.  Protagonist 1.0 might be cool and handsome, but isn’t in touch with his feminine side/greedy/can’t skateboard.  Odds are that a series of amusing setpieces will turn him into Protagonist v2.0 who’s very inContinue reading “CHARACTER ARCS 101”

How to beat writer’s block

AUTHOR’S NOTE ADDED 9/5/13 – This is one of the first blogs I wrote.  I didn’t really know what I was doing, and it embarrasses me.  I rewrote the article here, but I thought I would leave the old draft up for posterity. I don’t want to write this blog.  I actually never feel likeContinue reading “How to beat writer’s block”

Record your ideas as soon as you have them.

I’m writing this blog from the driver’s seat of my car Okay,  I’m actually recording a sentence of it every time I hit a stop light.  I use an Sony ICD-PX333. The typing up comes later (or, if you’re really lazy, you can plug it into Dragon Naturally Speaking and it’ll transcribe your words for you. IContinue reading “Record your ideas as soon as you have them.”

File your screenplay ideas in a trusted system.

People ask writers where they get their ideas.  The more interesting question is where do you put your ideas, once you have them?   Every writer needs a “trusted system” to file ideas in, a system that enables you to record, collect your ideas and easily recall and deploy them in a context specific way. That’s aContinue reading “File your screenplay ideas in a trusted system.”

Five things to do after ‘finishing’ a draft (and before you show it to anyone).

So you’ve finished your draft. Kudos, mazel tov, congratulations. It’s a heady rush and your instinct might be to send it off into the world. Wait. Don’t query that agent, don’t post it to that forum or subreddit, don’t enter that contest, don’t even bug your friends with it. Resist that temptation. Your work is newborn, vulnerable, unready. Sending it off now would be like sending a toddler to fight Floyd Mayweather.

Five productivity tips for screenwriters.

Productivity is a vast and complex field of study. You may have seen bits of it in articles like “lifehack your day,” or “Five tips to turbocharge your output!” Basically, productivity is the study of best workflows and best organizational practices. Ironically, productivity fans waste a lot of time reading productivity tips. This article isContinue reading “Five productivity tips for screenwriters.”