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In The Spotlight: Shonda Rhimes’ Top 10 Writing Rules

Learn From Shonda Rhimes!

So, B2W is the first to say there are no writing rulesBut there ARE things we can learn from the best writers working today. TV writing goddess Shonda Rhimes is obviously one of them!

So whether you call them ‘rules’, ‘best practices’, ‘guidelines’ or something else, she has plenty of great writing advice for us. B2W’s new intern Alice has rounded up some classic Shonda for us to consider in honing our craft and getting our own writing off the ground. Enjoy!

All About Shonda Rhimes

Shonda Rhimes is one of the most successful women in television. With a vast skillset and inspirational credits to her name, she is an idol for aspiring writers.

Fortunately for us, Rhimes has been open with her advice and aims to inspire the next generation. So, what are the writing rules that hold the key to Rhimes’ success?

1) Take charge

“You are responsible for telling your story. You have to show up and deliver. Your story is how you’re seen. Be compelling when telling it.”

2) Do your research

“One of the things I want to say about doing research, that I think is very important: read all the books.”

3) Be brave

“Don’t take the safe route. Take a risk.”

4) Believe in your ability

“Never wait for anyone to tell you you belong. If you question your right to be in the room, other people will start to question it too. Don’t squander the opportunity. Just do the work.”

5) Know your story

“You really need to be able to say the who, and the what, and the why, and the when, and the where, and the how. If you can’t answer those questions, you don’t have anything to talk about yet.”

6) Write with confidence and authority

“Hold your audience’s attention. Tell people what you’re going to do so it’s not a surprise when you do it. And then work hard. Be ambitious and audacious when telling the world your goals.” MORE: 7 Ways Of Showcasing Your Writer’s Voice In Your Screenplay

7) Take notes

“What I have started doing is taking notes in the little notes section of my phone, which is surprisingly effective, not just because you can dictate– which you can– but, also, because it’s always readily available.”

8) Understand Your Audience

“Get inside their shoes and understand them. Are you your audience?”

9) Create your own Success

“Hard work and taking every opportunity as it comes your way is the way to go.”

10) Leap of Faith

“Say YES to the things that scare you.”

What Writers Can Learn

Through hard work and sheer determination, Rhimes has shown there is no limit to her success. If you have faith in your ability as a writer and put the hours in, you can succeed too, you might even be the next Shonda!

Feeling inspired? It’s time to crack on and as Rhimes says, “Just do the work”. MORE: 7 Motivational Quotes From Shonda Rhimes 

Good Luck!

BIO: Alice Hayden is a scriptwriting student at Bournemouth University, focusing on writing for Film and Television. She is looking forward to seeing two of her scripts made in to animated promotional adverts for charities, and is currently working on a new TV drama and novel. Follow her on insta as @alice_hayen.

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3 thoughts on “In The Spotlight: Shonda Rhimes’ Top 10 Writing Rules”

  1. All good advice. I especially like the one about taking risks and believing that you belong. All of us have questions about our abilities and talents. Whether or not we are good enough or smart enough or skilled enough to fit in.

    At the heart of all that is a genetic coding to create and produce. And be loved and appreciated. And do good work that people enjoy.

    Taking and creating notes seems as if another strong piece of advice for me personally. I have no shortage of ideas. But I do have a limited capacity to remember all of them. Be be able to review my ideas, I can discard the ones that do not seem to have potential. And focus on the ones that may lead to something good.

    Good article. Thanks for sharing.

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