To Arc or Not to Arc? That Is the Question...
What we’re usually talking about when we say “character development” is Character Arc—it presupposes that a Character Arc is requisite to a well-rendered character … to which I say: “nay.”
Women Kicking Ass on Screen: Fierce or All Too Familiar?
For all the talk in Hollywood given to seeking out vital roles for women, the woman warrior has become every bit an egregious cliché as the hooker with a heart of gold was for half a century on film.
The Conflicted Protagonist
While few characters will hold appeal for every audience member, John Bucher shares approaches to flawed characters that decrease the chances of alienating your audience in the process.
Don't Mind Me - Mindfulness and Unmindful Characters
If we reflect back on what we’ve done in the past and how we’ve overcome it, facing the same challenge in the future will be just that much easier.
Shame to Superpower
The danger of the shame I felt is that it caused a paralysis that hindered me from forward motion in every aspect of my life, not just writing.
What Writers Can Learn from Movie Musicals for a Song
If a screenwriter thinks that there’s little to learn from the niche because they’re writing a horror film or a thriller, they’re (ahem) way off-key.
How My 'Burn Notice' Podcast Made Me a Better TV Writer
When you take detailed notes on how episodes unfold, you notice the reason you like certain episodes more than others is that things don’t just happen for the sake of things happening.
Aesthetic Choice for Screenwriters
I can’t tell you the number of times I have been told by different teachers that I should keep the direction off the page. That I am just here to write the story. That never made sense to me.
"A Quiet Place Part II": Internal Logic Without a Theme
As a screenwriter, you can’t just ask an audience to go along with anything, you have to meet them halfway.
Do What Feels Right, the Terrence Malick Way
The most constructive filmmaker for learning screenwriting for me was Terrence Malick. To anybody who knows what any of that means, it might sound like an oxymoron.
Is Science Fiction the Hardest Genre to Write Today?
What happened to sci-fi? When did it become so predictable, so unvaried, so unimaginative?
How Movies from 1985 Can Help You Write Better Scripts
1985 gave us three such movies blending commerciality, narrative discipline, and daring—their scripts a marvel to behold.
Writing is Research
“Doing good research” means doing more than parroting Twitter talking heads and Washington Post articles in a political drama.
What Composer and Lyricist Stephen Sondheim Can Teach Any Writer
Being uncaged or unencumbered isn’t really freedom in writing, it’s absurdity.
Fundamental Writing: The Fight of Your Life
Too many writers try to reinvent the narrative formula. They think we, as readers, are bored with well-executed, simple stories. Well, let me tell you this, y’all: we ain’t.