Zeitgeist Stories

5 Simple Steps To Avoid A Half-Baked Idea

Is Your Idea Half-Baked? Half-baked ideas are everywhere in the spec pile. But what does ‘half-baked’ mean? After all, whether a script reader, agent’s assistant or intern LIKES the idea behind a story is another matter. Let’s look to the dictionary to agree on a definition … Half-Baked Ajective. Not fully thought through; lacking a sound basis. “a half-baked conspiracy theory” Synonyms: undeveloped, unformed, not fully developed.  So, we agree we are not talking about personal preference. Instead, when we say a story has a ‘half-baked’ idea, we mean it is ‘not fully thought through.’ Like a cake recipe, something… Read More »5 Simple Steps To Avoid A Half-Baked Idea

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1 Pesky Word That Kills Your Loglines DEAD

Writing Loglines and Pitches Loglines can be pesky little things. For the uninitiated, loglines are those 1-2 sentence descriptions of your story (aka ‘short pitch’ if you’re a novelist). When I work with my Bang2writers, one thing I’ve noted is most really struggle with them. Yet being able to pitch our stories in just a sentence or two actively helps us SELL them to literary agents, publishers, producers, filmmakers, audiences or readers in … Cover letters Query Emails Pitchfests (both online & in real life) Meetings and networking events (‘What are you working on?’) Writing contests, schemes and initiatives Funding bids… Read More »1 Pesky Word That Kills Your Loglines DEAD

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5 Ways To Road Test Your Central Idea

All About Your Central Idea How good is your central idea? (AKA concept, seed of the story, premise, core). How do you know? Everyone has ideas. Occasionally you might have a brilliant one. But even the best central idea still needs to be thought through, prodded and stretched to breaking point before you write a single word of script. Here are five ways to thoroughly interrogate your central idea, and to make the script you’re writing stand out from the crowd. 1) Work out your USP (unique selling point) Recently for our Sitcom Geeks podcast James Cary and I read… Read More »5 Ways To Road Test Your Central Idea

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NEWSFLASH: Like it or Not, You Need To Outline

Oi, You … Yes YOU Look, I’m not saying an outline is an absolute MUST for writers … Except I am and you are utterly bonkers if you don’t outline! (What?? BRING IT!). Anyway, while I head off angry non-outlining writers at the pass, here’s why you SHOULD BE … Ready? Let’s go! 1) The Industry Expects It As screenwriters, we need to get used to outlining, because that’s the way of the industry. No one is going to pay us real money just to dive into a draft head first and ‘see how we go’. If nothing else, what happens… Read More »NEWSFLASH: Like it or Not, You Need To Outline

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5 Important Reasons Your Writing NEEDS Tropes

Writers Need Tropes In the age of the internet, tropes get a bad rap. Tropes are often conflated with the word ‘cliché’. Whilst overused tropes can BECOME clichéd, all writing needs tropes. A common example of trope is ‘the ticking clock.’ Thrillers may use this trope in the form of a deadline, the arrival of reinforcements, or something else the characters have to fight for. The timer puts extra pressure on the protagonists and ramps up the suspense in the story. (To see more examples of every trope ever written, you can check out the comprehensive site, TV Tropes). So,… Read More »5 Important Reasons Your Writing NEEDS Tropes

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Be Honest, Writers – Do You REALLY Have A Story?

Gotta Be Honest Bang2write is known for being honest in its feedback. Note that doesn’t mean brutal, vitriolic or cavalier. Writing is tough and writers have to make all kinds of sacrifices to get words on the page. Nothing winds me up more than readers and feedback-givers who don’t exercise due care. Every piece of work is an expression of someone’s hopes and dreams. I take this very seriously. But I do have to be honest. I would be failing in my remit as a script editor if I do not put honest notes at the very heart of what… Read More »Be Honest, Writers – Do You REALLY Have A Story?

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How To Write With Emotional Truth

What Is ‘Emotional Truth’? Industry pro or audience member, it seems everyone wants emotional truth in writing. But what is this? We hear a lot about the fabled writer’s voice, or the more vague notion of writers having ‘something to say’. But frequently this just is not enough to guide writers. So I sat down and gave it some thought. In my book, Writing And Selling Drama Screenplays, I defined ’emotional truth’ as: The part of the story that values the honesty and integrity of emotion, via authenticity, passion and pain.  Let’s break this definition down some more. Passion, Pain,… Read More »How To Write With Emotional Truth

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Top 5 Mistakes Writers Make With Diverse Characters

Wanted: Diverse Characters Diverse Characters were in demand in my latest experts panel … Producers, Agents, Publishers, Script Editors and Script readers all said they wanted more of them in the year to come. This is no real surprise, since ‘more diverse characters’ has been on the the industry’s wish list for a good while now. I am pleased to say most Bang2writers have picked up the mantle on diverse characters. Whilst there is a contingent of writers who believe diverse characters are a ‘fad’, they are mostly confined to ranting on Facebook. In the past two years in particular,… Read More »Top 5 Mistakes Writers Make With Diverse Characters

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Why FRIENDS Has An Awesome Pilot (And What It Can Teach Writers)

Rise of the Spec TV Pilot Every screenwriter alive wants to write a great pilot episode of their own, if the spec pile is anything go by. When I started B2W back in the day, I hardly ever saw spec TV pilot episodes of any kind. Fast-forward fifteen years and I would venture I read more spec TV pilot episodes than anything else! It also means THE most popular article on this entire site is How To Write TV Series Bibles – over 130K+ unique hits now. Wow! That said, spec TV pilot episodes are notoriously difficult to write. Whilst… Read More »Why FRIENDS Has An Awesome Pilot (And What It Can Teach Writers)

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What 22 Industry Pros DO Want From Your Writing

Wanted: Great Stories & Fresh Voices What we all want is a ‘good story, well told’. That’s a given. But what does this really mean? In part 2 of my expert panel this week, I asked the industry pros a second question … What types of stories, tropes, characters, genres, story worlds (etc) would you like to see MORE of in 2019? Here’s what they replied with, below. Again, as you will no doubt see, these are not the prescriptive demands many writers believe they need to ‘sell out’ to. As with the previous post, diversity, new takes on genre… Read More »What 22 Industry Pros DO Want From Your Writing

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