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All About Dramatic Irony And Twists In The Tale

All About Dramatic Irony Dramatic irony is a tool I see often in produced and published works, but hardly ever in spec scripts or unpublished novels. Recently I was talking with Uber-Agent Julian Friedmann and mentioned how much I love Yves Lavender’s book Writing Drama. Segnor Friedmann replied how much he loves the book’s section on dramatic irony, lamenting the fact that so few screenwriters actually use this fantastic device. His comments really struck a chord, so I think I’ll have a good look at what makes dramatic irony so great. What is Dramatic Irony? First off however, what is dramatic irony? Well, this… Read More »All About Dramatic Irony And Twists In The Tale

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No I Am Not An Affiliate Of This Contest

Robin posts about this contest today: it’s called “Write Here, Write Now”. I’ve already had one email this morning asking me why I would “lend my (blog’s) name” to such a contest that costs EIGHTY QUID to enter, plus postage of no less than THREE hard copies to the judges. The short answer: I wouldn’t. Maybe it’s good, maybe it’s not – but it’s nothing to do with me. For another thing, the contest is for IRISH writers and I’ve never even been to Ireland, let alone been born or raised there. Does raise some interesting questions though: If there… Read More »No I Am Not An Affiliate Of This Contest

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Character Vs. Plot

No I’m not dead — thanks for asking. Just VERY busy and generally distracted. And teaching EFL ‘cos super broke. Joy. Thanks for the comments on the coincidence post: some useful stuff there. Seems the general consensus is coincicidence is an absolute no-no UNLESS it’s a small issue AND gets your protagonist into some kind of trouble. So here’s another for you: character or plot – which is most important? After all, we read loads on creating great characters and loads on killer plot and structure. It’s all well and good saying they MUST go hand in hand, but it’s… Read More »Character Vs. Plot

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What A Coincidence!

Many thanks to Richard who indulges my fantasy that I am John August’s long lost love child with this question: When does coincidence become a cop out in a plot? This is a good question. Certainly I read lots of scripts in which coincidence figures as a necessary part of the plot which ultimately lets the piece down; I end up writing “how convenient” a certain event is in clients’ coverage and pose other ways for the same ends to come about. Sometimes coincidences happen for no apparent reason too – especially when it comes to character and/or dialogue: “You’re… Read More »What A Coincidence!

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How To Use Plot Devices – Voiceover, Flashback, Montage, Intercut and Dream Sequence

Plot Devices With A Bad Name … There are lots of plot devices in scriptwriting we hear are “frowned on”. We shouldn’t use voiceover or flashback is the usual (or voiceover WITH flashback!). I’ve also heard montage maligned in a similar fashion, as well as intercut and dream sequence. This is a load of rot as far as I’m concerned. You can use what you like. These accusations we see levied like “flashback is a lazy way of telling a story” is just another generalisation. Flashback can be an amazingly dramatic way to tell a story. … For A REASON!!… Read More »How To Use Plot Devices – Voiceover, Flashback, Montage, Intercut and Dream Sequence

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Scriptwriting Degrees, pt 1: University

Whilst it’s a given that talent can’t be taught – you have it or you don’t – a scriptwriting degree seems to be the latest “must have” if you’re going to get *anywhere* in this biz. This of course is total pants – some of the most successful writers I know of or have met have no piece of paper that SAYS they’re “trained”, yet still people sign up in their droves: I have a BA (Hons) Scriptwriting for Film and TV from Bournemouth University for example, as does Dom and Lianne. I believe Pillock is going for the MA… Read More »Scriptwriting Degrees, pt 1: University

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Writing & Ethics, Part 1

In UK Law (and I would imagine many other countries, including the US), if you instigate, persuade or tell someone to enact a crime and they do it, this is called incitement. This is why someone like Charles Manson, who never actually murdered anyone, will spend the rest of his life in jail for inciting his minions to do it for him. (I understand the exception to this rule is when you hire a hitman to kill someone: then you are as guilty of murder as the person who does the actual murdering). This is not a post about law,… Read More »Writing & Ethics, Part 1

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Having It All

Blogging about screenwriting craft sometimes is like lighting the blue touchpaper and needing to stand WELL BACK… And predictably, my last post started a comments bomb off. One thing that always amazes me about screenwriting craft is how far people *seem* to be at either end of extremes – writers either go for white OR black on the page it appears, the usual worry being story may not be what a writer intended if there’s not enough detail or that “texture” or “colour” in a scene may be missed out somehow. Yet why can’t you have both? Enough black to… Read More »Having It All

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Directing From The Page

“Directing From The Page” is a contentious issue and something levvied at new writers particularly when they send their specs out to initiatives, but also agents I’ve noticed. Sometimes it’s not called “directing from the page”; you might get some feedback that says you have “overwritten” your scene description, perhaps even the whole thing. “WTF? How can you OVERWRITE?” was my initial reaction when I got feedback like this… I *couldn’t* have overwritten anything, I’d stuck to the four line rule, I hadn’t referenced anything like the camera, I’d laid it all out properly! Directing From The Page is not… Read More »Directing From The Page

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Comedy and Team Writing

Many thanks to the enigmatic JB who had this to say in the comments thread of my last 10 on TV Drama post about Moving Wallpaper and Echo Beach: “It has got me thinking about the benefits of the US system of writing teams, especially for comedy, where many minds are likely to be better than one in ramping up the laughter count…What do you think?” I am undecided about the benefit of team writing, though other bloggers have written about their own experiences of it (thanks James Henry) and others have been vocal in their support or dislike of… Read More »Comedy and Team Writing

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Adaptation and "Success": The Golden Compass And Beyond

Regular readers of this blog know how interested I am in adaptation, so this course with Adrian Mead is definitely of interest: provided I can get some funding, I’ll be there, hopefully see you there too. The marvellous Steve too is interested in adaptation and over the Christmas break, he sent me the following email, which he gave me his kind permission to reporduce here to stimulate debate: Hi Lucy Let me run this by you, it’s an idea I had about movies in general. In film adaptations of books, you often get the situation that recently occurred with The… Read More »Adaptation and "Success": The Golden Compass And Beyond

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The Truth Of Fiction

I’m going to be incommunicado for most of this week: it’s half term and the kids are at home, meaning I have to write coverage in-between calls of “Get me a drink!”, “Stop the baby from climbing up on the window ledge!” and “What do you mean, “we need to talk”?” as well as a variety of other deadlines that have descended all at the same time. Obviously. A woman’s work is never done and all that. But here’s something juicy for you tp get your teeth into while I’m gone, I’ll check in when I can. ———————————————————————- I get… Read More »The Truth Of Fiction

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