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Top 5 Mistakes Writers Make On Page 1 Of Their Screenplays

The Page 1 Test Page 1 is THE most important page in your entire screenplay. You have to start as you mean to go on. Most spec screenwriters know they have up to 10 pages to impress the script reader … but few realise it’s page 1 that really needs to rock FIRST. So, to make sure your first page doesn’t sink your chances, read on. Let’s go! 1) Starting with something DULL on page 1 Dull is in the eye of the beholder of course … but there’s plenty of pitfalls we can commit with the very first sentence… Read More »Top 5 Mistakes Writers Make On Page 1 Of Their Screenplays

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Plotting 101: Top 10 Tips For Crafting Compelling Stories

Plotting Like a Pro One of the most searched-for terms on this blog is ‘help with plotting’. Plot – aka structure if you’re a screenwriter – can be a tricky beast. Despite it being fashionable to claim plotting is ‘easy’ to fix, this is utter BILGE … which is why it’s a good idea to try and ensure you don’t tie yourself up in knots at foundation level! So, whether you’re a novelist looking for help plotting your book, or a screenwriter who needs guidance on structuring your script, these quick tips should help. Ready? Let’s go … 1) It’s… Read More »Plotting 101: Top 10 Tips For Crafting Compelling Stories

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Top 10 Scream Queens from Movies and TV: Which Is Your Favourite?

What are Scream Queens? Typically, Scream Queens are the ultimate female character, especially in the horror or thriller genres. They are renowned for their iconic and memorable roles as the main protagonists, survivors and/or victims, or for their brave actions in the movie. Very often, they become the ‘Final Girl’ too. It’s time for another Top 10 list of fantastic female performances … So let’s break some of the most iconic Scream Queens in movie and TV history. Vote for your favourite Scream Queens in the comments — ready? Let’s go! 1) Cecilia, Immaculate Played By: Sydney Sweeny Immaculate is… Read More »Top 10 Scream Queens from Movies and TV: Which Is Your Favourite?

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Top 5 Mistakes Writers Make With Character Introductions

On Character Introductions Character introductions are super-important in good writing, whether it’s a novel or screenplay. A well-crafted character introduction provides context and relevance, which means the audience can connect with the characters on a deeper level. What’s not to like? Unfortunately, character introductions are often where writers stumble, which in turn affects the rest of the story. For the five biggest mistakes writers make with character introductions, check out the following … ready? Let’s go! 1) Laundry List Intros This is probably one of my ultimate pet peeve character introductions in both scripts and unpublished novels because it’s SO… Read More »Top 5 Mistakes Writers Make With Character Introductions

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12 Working Writers In Movies And TV Share Their Top Advice

Screenwriters Advice by Andrew Zinnes and Genevieve Jollife One of the most Googled terms leading to this blog is the search term ‘advice for screenwriters’.  This means I was delighted to chat with Andrew Zinnes all about his and Genevieve Jollife’s new book, literally called Screenwriters Advice! It’s a great book, packed with insights, tidbits and actionable advice from screenwriters for both movies and TV, in the UK and USA. It’s super-readable too. But don’t take my word for it, here’s some great tips from the book, courtesy of the best and brightest screenwriting talent. Also, don’t miss out on… Read More »12 Working Writers In Movies And TV Share Their Top Advice

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No, Your Characters DON’T Have To Change In Your Novel Or Screenplay. Here’s Why

Do Characters ‘Have’ To Change? In any conversation online about characterisation, it’s never long before somebody pops up proclaiming characters HAVE to change. They may even insist that a character who doesn’t change has ‘no arc’. Calling the department of WRONG! No, characters do NOT have to change. I can’t stress this enough. In fact, sometimes it’s desirable they DON’T change. Have I blown your mind? If I have, I’m not surprised. Writing gurus – especially in screenwriting circles – have been SO didactic about this topic in the last thirty or forty years. As a result, generations of writers… Read More »No, Your Characters DON’T Have To Change In Your Novel Or Screenplay. Here’s Why

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Actors Are Not Meat Puppets: 5 Versatile Roles Played by Ryan Gosling

All Hail The Goz Ryan Gosling is a name that needs no introduction. He’s become an icon of versatility and talent in the world of Hollywood. From his heart-melting performances in romantic dramas to his intense portrayals of complex and even violent characters, Gosling has proved time and again that he can effortlessly slip into any role with ease. When I’m working with screenwriters – and sometimes authors who want to adapt their books – it frequently becomes clear they think actors are meat puppets. But this is not even close: actors bring our words to life and have interpretations… Read More »Actors Are Not Meat Puppets: 5 Versatile Roles Played by Ryan Gosling

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Why Writing A ‘Scapegoat’ Character Can Bring Your Writing Bang Up-To-Date

Family Drama If you feel you’re seeing the word ‘scapegoat’ all over social media right now, you’re not wrong. In the past couple of years, psychological terms such as ‘gaslight’, ‘narcissist’, ‘toxic families’, ‘family estrangement’, ‘no contact’ – and now, ‘scapegoat’ – are real talking points. You may have seen these terms ion Facebook memes, talked about them yourself on Twitter, or watched therapists’ TikTok videos.  Intergenerational differences on psychology, family and parenting are VERY much part of society’s conversation in the 2020s. For those who have missed it, sociologists believe Gen Z and Millennials are the first generations to… Read More »Why Writing A ‘Scapegoat’ Character Can Bring Your Writing Bang Up-To-Date

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3 Quick Tips On Effective Character Development (Plus 4 Key Questions)

Effective Character Development Effective characterisation starts with good character development. Some writers insist that characters come to them ‘fully formed’ but I call BS. Good character development is not dictation. We are CREATING characters and honing our craft! There are a few key things to keep in mind when developing your characters: 1) Make them relatable Your audience needs to be able to connect with your characters on some level. If they can’t relate to them, they won’t be invested in their story. By the way: note how the above DOESN’T say make your characters ‘likeable’. This is a red herring.… Read More »3 Quick Tips On Effective Character Development (Plus 4 Key Questions)

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A Masterclass In Secondary Characters (Or Why Trent Crimm Matters In TED LASSO)

Trent Crimm in Ted Lasso Trent Crimm is one of my favourite queer characters of the last five years or so. He has an incredible arc for a secondary character! So imagine my surprise – and indignation – when I saw Twitter pontificating Trent ‘serves no real purpose’ in Ted Lasso! (Yes, yes the finale was superb … we all know this, everybody loved it, now: RANT INCOMING!). The fact that anyone – least of all wannabe screenwriters! LE GASP – think Trent is ‘pointless’ shows how little people understand the purpose of secondary characters in screenwriting. Sure, they *think*… Read More »A Masterclass In Secondary Characters (Or Why Trent Crimm Matters In TED LASSO)

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How To Write A Great Story Arc For Your Character (With Examples)

A Great Story Arc Needs Conflict Every great story has a beginning, middle, and end, also known as a story arc. In order to keep your audience engaged, your story should have a clear story arc with a conflict that is resolved by the end. Le duh! But what is a story arc? As you may guess, it’s the narrative structure of a story. How that story arc works will depend on the story being told. Characters may deal with problems – aka conflict – in order to make changes in their lives or important realisations. The most common of these… Read More »How To Write A Great Story Arc For Your Character (With Examples)

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Top 10 ‘Unlikeable’ Female Characters In Movies & TV

All About ‘Unlikeable’ Female Characters ‘Why are so many female characters unlikeable these days?’ That was a thread I had the misfortune to read recently, but it’s not the only one. Commentary on supposedly ‘unlikeable’ female characters never goes away, it seems. Men – and sadly, some women too – all chime in regularly about this topic online, saying shit like … … It’s ‘misogyny’ to write female characters with bad motivations or other bad behaviour (sigh) … Female characters have a RESPONSIBILITY to be role models to young girls (erm no, ENTERTAINMENT first!)  … Writers are showing their inexperience… Read More »Top 10 ‘Unlikeable’ Female Characters In Movies & TV

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