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Special 600th Post: The Art of Consequence

Scribes often write to me and ask, based on my script reading, how I can recognise a “good” script. The answer? I’m not sure you can put it into words. If you have a relationship that works, think of that moment you knew you were going to spend the rest of your life with that person. You just know, right? Cheesy, but true. Sure they annoy the crap out of you by leaving the seat up or using your razor on their legs, but ultimately This Is It. That’s not to say it won’t go to Hell at some point… Read More »Special 600th Post: The Art of Consequence

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Killing Time

I’ve lost count of the number of times scribes have described to me a need to “allow for time” in their story when I’ve suggested a need to cut various things, particularly in Set Up. Sometimes it’s because they feel pace will be adversely affected if they don’t and the story will become “too fast”; other times they worry it won’t seem “realistic” since in real life a character will of course have to go to work, school, etc as well as deal with the situation they find themselves in. First things first, there’s no such thing as a story… Read More »Killing Time

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The Story Engine, Notes, Pt 1: Internet

I’ve had a huge pile of scripts dumped on me from a great height plus my usual Bang2writers’ fare, so I won’t be coming up for air for at least a week… Luckily, Bang2writer and blog reader Helen (whose surname, aptly, is “Bang” – for real!) went to The Story Engine the other week and has composed some comprehensive notes on the events there for us. I was GUTTED to not have time to go to this, so was very grateful to Helen for taking the time to write it up for us. First, we have how the internet can… Read More »The Story Engine, Notes, Pt 1: Internet

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6 Reasons Writers May Need To Sacrifice Facts For Drama

Sacrificing facts for drama is a difficult balance. After all, all of us want our reader (and thus our audience) to suspend their disbelief; the last thing we want them to do is splutter, “As if!” Here’s a list of why we might sacrifice facts for drama: 1) Drama Really obvious, but writers consistently duck away from really engaging with the dramatic, myself included. They’ll write a good scene, but refuse to take it as far as they possibly can in order to squeeze the most drama out of it. Often this will be because they won’t want to put… Read More »6 Reasons Writers May Need To Sacrifice Facts For Drama

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The Importance Of Research

BEWARE: SPOILERS (CHILDREN OF MEN) Thanks to Jill, who asked me recently about research and where she can find various stuff to do with hospital treatment and accents. The internet, I think, was made especially for screenwriters: Google is God. In fact, this was the inspiration for my Research or Die series last summer – anyone interested will find links to useful sites on stuff like language, events, disasters, heroes, villains, times, medical, crime, money right there… In fact, if an obvious thing/person/ isn’t there, let me know – better still, send me the link and I’ll add it. Check… Read More »The Importance Of Research

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Preaching To The Converted? 6 Of The Best — Drama

Your Honour, members of the jury: we are gathered here today to discuss the impact of feature length dramas on an audience… Though drama is indeed my favourite (yes, possibly even above my beloved Horror), it has long been my belief such fare has no impact whatsoever in changing the attitudes of their viewers. Why? Because the very viewers such films attract already possess the beliefs and values explored by the drama in question – hence the audience watching said dramas in the first place: like attracts like. But don’t take my word for it; I will demonstrate. [Box Office… Read More »Preaching To The Converted? 6 Of The Best — Drama

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Welcome To Rom Com Hell: 8 Awful Ways To Write Romantic Comedy

Rom Com / Real Life Hell Rom Com was always one of those genres I avoided through my teens and early twenties. Being a Goth, I was way too cool for boy-meets-girl, obviously. Besides which, by 18 I was a total cynic … I had after all been the girl who’d met the boy, then got knocked up and ripped off by him! I’d been left with a broken heart, a wailing baby and a man-hating attitude problem for approximately five years.  I was also of the (not unreasonable) belief that post-FOUR WEDDINGS in the late 90’s/early noughties that all… Read More »Welcome To Rom Com Hell: 8 Awful Ways To Write Romantic Comedy

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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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Do Your Preparation: How To Write Outlines, Beat Sheets And Treatments

You should do your preparation! Bang2writers often ask me what is the “best” way to go about writing a screenplay or novel. My answer? There is no “best” way. But it’s definitely going to help if you’ve done your preparation first in the form of an outline, beat sheet and/or treatment. Here’s why preparation work helps you get rid of all the obvious pitfalls and crap FIRST, as it … GIVES your brain time to “breathe” and work out all the machinations of the plot and the character motivations and themes etc concurrently STOPS you writing a load of junk… Read More »Do Your Preparation: How To Write Outlines, Beat Sheets And Treatments

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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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