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What Is A Hero?

So, this week The Guardian asked if female action heroes are good role models for young women? My take: I’d argue *any* capable female character is potentially empowering (especially for younger audiences), but VARIETY is key in presenting good media images and characters, whether that’s in film, in novels and publishing, the web and so on. Also, not just variety of female heroes either, but MALE heroes too. Why? Because *all* heroes have become caricatures. As a species, human beings are in love with the notion of heroism. Nearly all our stories that are passed down the ages, whether fiction or… Read More »What Is A Hero?

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Is “Good” Characterisation Really About Change?

Characters SHOULD change? At first glance, it would seem the answer to this question about character change is obvious. It’s oft said so-called “good” characterisation is about change by writing Gurus, script readers, editors and educators. It’s said that a character – usually the protagonist – must make a personal realisation or change something physical (or indeed, both), whilst DOING something else (usually the situation apparent). What’s more, the notion of  “arc” and “character development” is drummed  into writers of ALL descriptions, but especially screenwriters. Since the advent of transmedia and convergence of all the mediums then, it makes sense that novelists… Read More »Is “Good” Characterisation Really About Change?

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4 Reasons **That Moment You Don’t Like** Is NOT A Deus Ex Machina

All About The Deus Ex Machina So, the Deus Ex Machina. What is it? Well to know a word or phrase is to be able to define a word or phrase (as my English teacher always used to say!). So here is the dictionary’s definition … Pretty straightforward, tbh. In other words, by today’s standards, it’s *something* that’s parachuted in to a story to SAVE characters in some way and/or SOLVE a problem FOR THEM. Obviously, the Deus Ex Machina is lame. No one wants to put one in their stories. Oh, except those using it for comedic effect of… Read More »4 Reasons **That Moment You Don’t Like** Is NOT A Deus Ex Machina

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5 Inspiring Monsters

Many thanks to Lorna Freytag (and the lovely David for facilitating) in bringing the awesome Sock Monster to mine and my WGs’ attention! I love the simplicity of the story and find the notion of storybook apps really interesting, plus my girls Emmeline and Lilirose adore the Sock Monster and have been searching for one in their bedroom all week to feed *their* socks! What I love about Lorna’s post  is how she demonstrates how the existing “pre-sold” monsters helped inform her story, yet also make hers stand out too: the “same, but different” in action! Over to Lorna … Enjoy!… Read More »5 Inspiring Monsters

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What’s The Difference Between Thriller And Horror?

Thriller Vs. Horror Thriller and Horror … They’re practically the same genre, right? NOPE. Not by a long shot. Whilst they may share certain characteristics, Thriller and Horror are two definitive genres and this post will attempt to explain why in more detail. It’s A ‘Thriller / Horror’ Though I touch on this issue in my book, Writing & Selling Thriller Screenplays, I think it’s worthwhile to go into more detail on this element. I see LOTS of spec screenplays that call themselves “Thriller / Horrors” and this is nearly always a mistake. Not only does it wind up the… Read More »What’s The Difference Between Thriller And Horror?

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#LondonSWF 2013 – On My Way!

So I’m off on my travels all day today to London for the fourth annual London Screenwriters’ Festival! Tonight I’ll be at the networking and registration drinks. Come and find me and practice your networking skills or pitches on me. That’s right – I ASKED FOR IT, C’MON! But before you do, watch out for these pitch killers or I’ll blast a klaxon in your face! FRIDAY Tomorrow, in the morning I will be in the Final Draft Marquee, ready to answer delegates’ questions as an LSF Roving Expert. There is a whole fleet of us, you can’t miss us:… Read More »#LondonSWF 2013 – On My Way!

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9 Ways To Write Great Characters

Great Characters Wanted Great characterisation is layered and complicated – y’know, like REAL people. This is why  characterisation is the hard bit of writing. Yet over the years I’ve been working with  writers, I’ve found many will too often plump for the first character that comes into their mind and then add all those distractions on top for decoration. People are more than the way they look, act or seem. We all *know* this. So why don’t spec screenplays and novels reflect it? I don’t believe in creating character profiles, or questionnaires. I don’t care what your character had for breakfast, went… Read More »9 Ways To Write Great Characters

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7 Reasons Why Studying Screenwriting Can Make You A Better Novelist

In this game, it’s a given the script development model is king. Start with a logline and a pitch then develop them into a short form outline with character biographies. Then, work up a longer scene-by-scene outline that you might want to call a treatment – or you might not depending on which screenwriting books you read – and then, hey presto, you “go to script” – and there it is, a first draft screenplay. It’s like growing a plant and once it’s grown, you water it with rewrites. Or maybe you prefer the architect’s plans metaphor? Regardless, the script… Read More »7 Reasons Why Studying Screenwriting Can Make You A Better Novelist

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5 Steps To Writing The Perfect Cover Letter

Congratulations – you have written a novel! This is no small thing, for in the words of Hemingway, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” After the effort that has gone into your manuscript, it’s understandable that you’re eager to secure a literary agent, but you need to be patient for long enough to write a great cover letter. It’s the gateway to getting your book published. Here are 5 tips to help you on your way: 1. Write concisely Your letter should be no longer than one page. Not one-and-a-bit,… Read More »5 Steps To Writing The Perfect Cover Letter

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12 Top Tips For Taking Writing Meetings

All About Meetings I’m delighted to say the hardcore contingent of the Bang2writers are taking meetings more and more often now. These writers getting meetings are most often those with … A specific writing strategy (more on these, HERE) Know ‘where’ they are in creating their own careers Stick to their writing goals, but also review and re-evaluate them too However, this also means these writers are asking me more and more often what is the “right” way to take meetings! With this in mind, I thought it was time for a post on the subject. First things first, it… Read More »12 Top Tips For Taking Writing Meetings

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5 Career Strategies For Writers

All About Careers Various Bang2writers have been asking me, especially on Twitter, about career and submissions strategies, so here’s a quick breakdown of approaches you may want to consider/try. As ever, the usual disclaimer: “buyer beware” and do your homework on all submissions opportunities … Plus, *obviously* nothing “guarantees” success and you may find you want to/need to tweak various elements of these approaches to suit your own life. Equally, if you have a strategy you feel I’ve missed here, let me know in the comments section and I’ll add it. Before we get started, here are resources that are… Read More »5 Career Strategies For Writers

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How Do I Write A Great Character?

We hear all the time about two dimensional, stereotypical or even downright offensive characters. None of us can believe we’d EVER write something **like that**, so instead we point figures at those who do and keep on writing our stuff, sure ours are that much better. A lot is said about the “usual” characters, too: how readers are seeing the *types* of characters, doing the same types of things, for the same types of reasons, in the same types of stories. Then there are the writers trying to go against the tide  and do *something different*. Though admirable in intent,… Read More »How Do I Write A Great Character?

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