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To paraphrase Carlyle, ‘A writer who could only sit in a chair and write stories would never write any stories worth the reading.’ Your story material naturally will be influenced in quality and quantity by the richness of your own life experience; by your own loving, fearing, suffering, struggling, and achieving. Therefore, as a writer, […]

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Poor plot construction is the bane of many a beginner. When a story lacks continuity, that is, breaks into parts that have no close relation, the plot needs additional building up. While I have known those who built up complications and plot tangles so knotted that neither they nor anyone else could unravel them reasonably, […]

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Every once in a while I’ll hear on a podcast or read someone saying about movie endings “the end should be implied in the beginning.” It’s sound advice, but it’s advice that’s been kicking around the movie industry for over 80 years. Oscar winning screenwriter Frances Marion (The Champ) bridged the gap between the silent […]

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When you have a clear idea of a plot, write out the entire story as interestingly as you can. Keep in mind that the audience is not interested in seeing actions which people do generally, but in seeing what specific actions specific persons do in specific circumstances.” Screenwriter Frances Marion  How to Write and See […]

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”My own experience leads me to believe that an original plot is never as essential or, in fact, salable as is fresh and original treatment of a plot that has proved popular.” Screenwriter Frances Marion Here are a list of plot pulled from Frances Marion’s book How to Write and Sell Stories—published way back in […]

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Certain plot patterns long since have won public favor and with fresh treatment doubtless will continue to do so. Among these is the rise to success plot centering man’s search for the satisfaction of accomplishment. It is found in one version in the story of Jack and the Beanstalk and probably appeared long before that. […]

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Note: I’ve spent the past two weeks visiting my mother in the hospital. The first ten days she was in ICU, but she was moved to a regular room over the weekend.  She’s in the later stages of COPD and, at the moment, kind of in that gray zone of not getting better and not […]

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“Who is it that can tell me who I am?” King Lear by William Shakespeare “I’ve never known a better seaman, but as a man, he’s a snake. He doesn’t punish for discipline. He likes to see men crawl. Sometimes, I’d like to push his poison down his own throat.” Lt. Fletcher Christian regarding Captain […]

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Even when characters are based upon living persons, it is best to consider such persons as the artist does the model: as a basis, a suggestion to carry an idea, rather than something to be copied exactly. In the finished picture, the character must appear with the selected traits and idiosyncrasies more sharply outlined, more […]

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Walter Pitkin has said, ‘Melodrama gets somewhere, but means nothing, while undramatic character writing gets nowhere, but means something.‘ The film story in demand is the one that both gets somewhere and means something, because its action based on character. The easiest way to destroy whatever illusion of reality it may have is to sacrifice […]

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