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Spotlight On Structure

How To Watch And Break Down A TV Show Episode

Watch & Learn Lots of my Bang2writers say they’re going to watch TV shows ‘for work’ … but then don’t do any work! They just enjoy them. Tsk. Naughty writers! But seriously, you CAN watch whatever you like *and* learn from these produced TV shows at the same time. I’m going to show you how to do this, using the free B2W plotting worksheet, which you can download HERE. By the way, you can watch stuff if you’re a novelist too! Everything I know about novel writing, I learned from watching movies and TV shows. Similarly, you can watch different… Read More »How To Watch And Break Down A TV Show Episode

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Spotlight On Structure: The Monomyth Versus The Hero’s Journey

Structure Is A Journey NEWSFLASH: we don’t watch movies or TV or read books ‘about characters’. We watch movies and TV and read books about characters who do something for SOME REASON. Lots of new writers will say structure is a ‘formula’. Nope. It’s a FRAMEWORK. The most obvious is ‘beginning – middle – end’. Even children know how this works. It’s built into our DNA. If we think of characters as having to go on a journey from A to B to C, then we can see how plotting and characterisation are interlinked. This is never more obvious than… Read More »Spotlight On Structure: The Monomyth Versus The Hero’s Journey

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5 Problems With Structure ALL Writers Have

As any Bang2writer – new or old – knows, I am an advocate on getting on top of plotting via KNOWING STRUCTURE. However, unlike many, I really don’t care *how* writers do this. I might be a 3 Acts Girl myself (as in, beginning – middle – end and not necessarily in that order!), but whatever works as far as I’m concerned. But as we all know, very few specs’ structures WORK on the page. And it’s too often because writers are not doing enough research into this incredibly important element of writing. Instead, they’re crossing their fingers and hoping for… Read More »5 Problems With Structure ALL Writers Have

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Spotlight On Sitcom Structure: 6 Tips For Writers

So, I’m assuming your concept for your spec sitcom ROCKS. But are you structuring it right?? I see a lot of spec sitcoms doing the rounds, but very few pass muster. This is usually because they bear very little resemblance to the sitcoms we see on TV. Usually, they’re what I call ‘COMsits’ – in other words, they’re strings of gags, one after another … All COMEDY and no SITUATION. But it’s called a SITcom. DOH! So, I thought I’d take a look at sitcom structure, with reference to the grandaddy of comedy, THE SIMPSONS. Like it or loathe it,… Read More »Spotlight On Sitcom Structure: 6 Tips For Writers

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5 Visual Representations of Storytelling Structure

Scary Structure Structure freaks so many writers out … It can be enough to strike fear into the heart of ANY spec screenwriter or unpublished novelist. But I actually think getting to grips with this is THE KEY to not only being a ‘good’ writer, but a SUCCESSFUL one! Whilst some structure methods like Blake Snyder’s ‘Save The Cat’ may seem formulaic, it’s important to note structure is NOT a formula. (Also, don’t forget Snyder never meant ‘Save The Cat’ to become the checklist it has, especially in some Hollywood circles). Structure = Beginning – Middle – End Stories are… Read More »5 Visual Representations of Storytelling Structure

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How To Avoid A “B.O.S.H” Screenplay

QUESTION: What is a B.O.S.H screenplay? Very often I’ll read a whole screenplay in which scenes kind of **run into** each other. A scene happens … followed by another scene … followed by another … and then another. You get the gist. It’s not that it’s a BAD screenplay either, it’s just that the structure could be leaner and the events that happen need to build up more “obviously” – the scenes don’t feel “linked” enough to contibute to the narrative as a whole. Sometimes, screenplays go B.O.S.H randomly, usually somewhere in the middle but occasionally “upfront” (ie. I’m “waiting… Read More »How To Avoid A “B.O.S.H” Screenplay

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Structure Spotlight: 3 Things To Remember For Act 3

All About Act 3 So today we’re talking about Act 3, courtesy of  Bang2writer Craig Howells, who left this question in the B2W Facebook group: I’m really interested in the anatomy of Act 3. What are the Dos & Don’ts? I know you need to pay off, and I’ve got my own ideas (which I’m still working on) but I’d love to know your take on it. I’m not a structure purist. As far as I’m concerned, all stories *just* need a beginning, middle and end (and not necessarily in that order, either!). On this basis then, The Three Acts makes… Read More »Structure Spotlight: 3 Things To Remember For Act 3

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What’s The Difference Between A Prologue & A Teaser?

Prologues and Teasers play a very big part in the spec screenplay pile – but all too often, scribes aren’t too sure of the difference. Here are my thoughts: Very **Generally** speaking: i) Movies will have prologues: think the arrival of the (unseen) velociraptor at JURASSIC PARK; the crash in PITCH BLACK; the shooting in THE SIXTH SENSE or the Barracuda attack in FINDING NEMO. These moments act as a catalyst for the characters to become embroiled in the story, but also an introduction to the characters and/or story world for the audience. (This latter point is especially important for… Read More »What’s The Difference Between A Prologue & A Teaser?

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Climbing Walls

SPOILERS AHOY: Toy Story 1 & 2, A Bug’s Life, Monsters Inc, Finding Nemo It’s weird, but I often find myself talking to different people about the same thing screenwriting-wise, whether I’m writing my own stuff, reading other people’s or having random conversations about writing. For example, this last week and a half I have had no less than six conversations about the problems people have in “keeping it going” in Act 2. Very often in the specs I read, the Set Up may start very well, even catapult us right into in to the story – yet as soon… Read More »Climbing Walls

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