An outline is a reality check.

I'm skeptical of people who are too vocal about never outlining. For every one person who doesn't need to outline, there are a hundred that do. Some people seem to see any form out outlining as a form of hackery or cheating. Breaking down a story into beats? Cheating. Identifying a premise and then identifying... Continue Reading →

The Beats of a Screenplay.

If I've learned anything in years of discussing screenwriting online, it's that people have an unending appetite for being told that they CAN write, but that they violently resent being told HOW to write. Even the merest suggestion of assumed orthodoxy can set off flame wars. Writers rarely agree on anything. People hear beats and they... Continue Reading →

Beat sheets and how to use them

A “beat sheet” is a form of an outline. In this form, you can think of each beat as an individual unit of plot, so a beat sheet in an outline that’s specific purpose is to touch on each of those.  (John August's Note that beat sheets are also commonly written after there is... Continue Reading →

How to write a mediocre logline

Nine months ago I wrote this post. It became one of my most popular blogs. I've come to realize that the words "mediocre" and "logline" were poor choices, because it opened me up to a lot of repetitive arguments about what is or isn't a logline. I clarified my thinking and renamed this: The Premise... Continue Reading →

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