John and Craig welcome back Aline Brosh McKenna to talk about writing projects outside the familiar constraints of screenwriting. We discuss the surprises and adjustments involved in the creative processes of different media: Aline’s graphic novel Jane, Craig’s HBO miniseries Chernobyl, and John’s original song, “Rise.” We also dig into why screenwriters sometimes need to […]
I have a very hard time writing a character if I don’t love the name. So I obsess over picking the right one. I’ll spend hours staring in the middle distance, trying out various combinations until something clicks.
Books have two title pages. Like most things that seem oddly wasteful at first glance, there’s a good reason for it.
John and Craig implore screenwriters to think twice before using the phrase “begs the question.” We know it’s a losing battle, but if we learned anything from 300, sometimes those are still worth having.
Arlo Finch in the Valley of Fire will be the first book in a new series from Roaring Brook Press, an imprint of Macmillan. It comes out in 2018.
In the season finale of Scriptnotes, John and Craig reveal big changes to the podcast.
To Kill a Mockingbird is usually studied for its themes and cultural issues, but I’d urge you to read it — or re-read it — just for the writing.
This week, we time-travel back to our first centennial, a live show in Hollywood with special guests Aline Brosh McKenna and Rawson Thurber. We discuss the rise of the “writer-plus,” the importance of early mentors, and the emails that outline the very origin of Scriptnotes.
Dean Orion certainly has something worthwhile to say about writing. I’d read his blog if he had one. But his new eBook, Live to Write Another Day, is a lesson in the pitfalls of self-publishing and writing without and editor. He doesn’t know where the book is best, and brushes over points that deserve whole chapters, or makes chapters out of what should be entire books.
I don’t read many books about screenwriting, but my assistant Stuart Friedel does. From time to time I ask him to write up his impressions. Several readers had written to ask about David Hughes’s Tales from Development Hell, so I asked Stuart to look at it during a break from reading Three Page Challenge entries. […]
Now that I finally have room for all the books I’ve collected, I find I don’t really want them anymore.
I don’t read books on how to write screenplays, but Stuart does, so I occasionally ask him to write up his impressions. For this round, he tackled the three Save the Cat! books by Blake Snyder.
For their 25th podcast, John and Craig tackle listener questions. How does a screenwriter option a novel he wants to adapt? When can a writer say he “wrote” a movie — particularly if there are other credited writers? Finally, should an aspiring writer focus on television or features?
I’ve only just started reading Danny Rubin’s How to Write Groundhog Day, but it’s promising enough that I think many screenwriters will want to take a look at it this weekend.
Amazon’s new KDP Select program allows self-publishers to run free-book promotions. I’m running an experiment to see what that means for one of my older titles, Snake People.
Craig and John look at why the books and seminars purporting to teach screenwriting are generally terrible, trying to reduce the hard work of the craft to a series of formulas and templates.
At the end of any day in which I’ve had to keep up in French, I’m zombie-tired. Research Daniel Kahneman has the explanation.
With its thorough coverage of basic tenets, some of which are so painfully obvious that giving them attention can do more harm than good, David Trottier’s The Screenwriter’s Bible stays true to its namesake. It is a solid, comprehensive resource for any screenwriter’s bookshelf, but it’s a lot to take in at once.
Christopher Vogler’s The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers provides a universally applicable way of thinking about story without trapping the author into calling it the only way of thinking. It manages to be all encompassing without being suffocating.
Karl Iglesias’s 101 Habits of Highly Successful Screenwriters feels like a broad but basic WGA panel, where successful screenwriters share advice, mostly in the form of useful but familiar cliches.
As you would expect from two members of The State, Thomas Lennon & Robert Ben Garant’s Writing Movies for Fun and Profit is very entertaining. It is also full of useful information for both budding and veteran screenwriters.
If you like 30 Rock and books, you’ll enjoy Tina Fey’s Bossypants.
If you got a Kindle or iPad for Christmas, I have two short stories you may want to check out. Each works as a nice palate-cleanser from too much holiday cheer.
Ken Auletta looks at how writers and publishers are trying to figure out their roles in the age of Kindles and iPads.
On Monday, I’ll be publishing a brand new short story. In the meantime, I want to offer up The Variant for anyone who might have missed it.