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?
Romantic Comedies Rock So, you want to write a romantic comedy … You’ve grabbed your pen or your laptop, and you’ve decided that it’s time to finally write. If only it were that simple! Not just anyone can sit down and spew out something funny, compelling and believable. At the very least, you need to keep some things in mind. Read on to find out more to find out what you need to make YOURS work … 1) Something Fresh One of the problems with romantic comedies these days is that they all seem to be exactly the same. Therefore,… Read More »5 Important Elements of Writing a Romantic Comedy
All About Stock Characters A stock character is a stereotypical fictional character in a work of art such as a novel, play, or a film. Stock characters are immediately recognisable because they occur so frequently. I put it to you there are the stock characters infecting – yes, infecting – the spec pile. We must attempt to treat this disease with a huge dose of Spec Writing Salve, so we might cut off these tired tropes and offensive myths, rather than perpetuate them in our novels and screenplays! But where do we start??? 6) ‘Magical Queer’ AKA The “Gay… Read More »6 Stock Characters That Need Retiring By Writers NOW
I love being transported by movies, not just entertained, but transported, moved up the ladder to a different reality. I love walking out of the cinema with a story and storyworld still sticking to me, like napalm in the morning. This explains why I’m attracted to period pieces (and “period piece” also includes science fiction films, which are period pieces that look forward rather than backward). A lot of my screenwriting – paid gigs and spec work both – has focused on slips up or down the timeline. So here are a few guideposts that have been helpful to me… Read More »5 Tips For Writing Period Movies
Many thanks to Natasha aka Script Smart for tagging me in this Blog Hop, which consists of ten questions and then tagging other authors/writers. So here’s mine: 1. What is the working title of your next book? I’m currently editing WRITING AND SELLING THRILLER SCREENPLAYS. It’s a non-fiction book about, oh – you can probably guess. At the moment I’m contacting all the industry peeps I can think of to contribute quotes on either writing or selling Thriller screenplays, so readers can have as many great insights as possible from the industry. 2. Where did the idea come from… Read More »Blog Hop: My Next Book – Writing & Selling Thriller Screenplays (Sept 2013)
I was reading this article at the weekend about female directors. It makes for depressing reading, talking of actors (or indeed anyone in the industry) “hating” female directors “… I’d like to live in a world where people are ashamed to say things like that, but for some reason it’s still OK. Take out the word “female” in that quote and substitute it with “black,” “Jewish,” or “gay.”” Can you imagine? There’d be an uproar. Yet strangely there isn’t when it comes to women. Where is the outrage? Now I’m not a director, but the article stirred up my own… Read More »Women! Know Your Place
It’s very fashionable at the moment to denigrate Hollywood movies. And as screenwriters, it’s not difficult to see why this has occurred. Hollywood is a gigantic machine with a HUGE output, so liken it to a sausage factory and really, you’re not far wrong. Yet the difference between Hollywood movies and indie output, apart from sheer volume, is not really that big: Hollywood has many, many misfires – those films no one would touch with a barge pole. Yet their hits are SO big, this distracts us even as filmmakers. After all: who *really* cares if no one went to… Read More »Hollywood: Mighty Machine
Symbolism in Screenwriting Many spec writers want to introduce symbolism in their scripts. And why not? Sometimes the best writing we see “hints” at other things; there are multiple ways of “reading” it — and us screenwriterly types can pat ourselves on the back for “seeing” it. So Think LAYERS When it comes to symbolism of any kind, think LAYERS, like an onion. You can do this any way you want: visual metaphors, allusions, motifs, character traits. There are no rules, remember. However, the biggest issue I see when it comes to symbolism: It’s not clear what the screenwriter is… Read More »Case Study: All About Symbolism in ALIEN (1979)
How To Introduce A Character If you are thinking about how best to introduce a character, you are not alone. This is one of the questions I get most often from Bang2writers. Many thanks to writer @davidbishop who asks: How best to introduce characters … Should we list 3 attributes, a single sentence, or let their actions [and words] speak for themselves? First up, I’m going to be really annoying and saying there’s no best” way, just people’s opinions. That said, David’s suggestions are all great in theory. How they work out on the page however can be different! This… Read More »How To Introduce A Character In A Screenplay
Is This You And Your Partner? Does your life partner stop you from writing? Lots of writers have this issue. B2Wer Jade-K emailed me this week with this lament … I love my boyfriend to bits but he drives me nuts… He doesn’t get that I need to write my novel! He says we should watch spend time together after work and when the kids go to bed and gets proper narked if I want to write. I see from your blog you have kids, how do you manage it? Jade-K is not the first person to email me about… Read More »Help – My Partner Won’t Let Me Write! What Do I Do??
Amy Walker joined me on a panel about parenthood and flexible working at London Screenwriters Festival, so I was only too happy to pass this message along from her – I think Media Parents is a fab idea and could really open up flexible working for everyone, not just parents. If you live in Bristol or the surrounding areas, please give Media Parents your support! ————————-Media Parents is a jobs and social networking website for parents and others who want to work flexibly in TV. 5000 women and 750 men left TV over the last 3 years – Media Parents… Read More »Media Parents Meeting In Bristol
Carrying on from yesterday, here’s the second part of Jeremy Allen’s run-down.—————————————————-How does the role of commissioner add to the creative process? Put simply, ‘commissioners are able to provide distance…they are able to stand back and ask questions’. This is because they see the script’s progress at intermittent stages. Ben describes these intermittent stages as ‘milestones’, which roughly break down into ‘commission, pre-production and edit’. A common flaw Ben sees in the journey of the script is that it can lose its original vision: what the writer wanted to say in the first place, or even what it was about… Read More »GUEST POST: Ben Stephenson Q & A by Jeremy Allen (Part 2)