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Books

Tying Things Up

John and Craig cover endings, both for craft and for business. First they articulate the importance of the denouement and the social contract it fulfills with the audience. Then they discuss what happens to a writer’s work after their death. We also follow up on pitching, and introduce a new segment: Change Craig’s Mind. This […]

You’d hardly recognize Arlo Finch overseas

Arlo Finch came out in February 2018 in the US and Canada, but the international editions are only now debuting. And in many cases, the book you see in stores overseas looks very different.

How (and why) to write a novel in Highland 2

Through the whole process of writing Arlo Finch, I’ve had to spend less than two weeks in Word, while I’ve spent more than two years in Highland 2. Using an app so tailored to my process is a pleasure.

Independent Bookstore Day

On Saturday, April 28th, I’ll be at Chevalier’s Books on Larchmont from 3 to 5pm as part of Indie Bookstore Day.

Arlo Finch in the Bookstores of America (and Canada)

My first novel, Arlo Finch in the Valley of Fire, comes out today in stores throughout North America. I’d love you to, well, buy it. People buying books makes future books possible. It’s available at massive online stores, national chains and your local indie bookstore. Arlo Finch is middle-grade fantasy fiction. That’s the broad category […]

Introducing Launch

John and Craig introduce Launch, John’s new podcast about making a book. Over the course of six episodes, the series tracks the process of writing and shipping a novel, from idea to printing. The first two episodes are available today, with new episodes coming each Tuesday. Not to worry — Scriptnotes isn’t going anywhere. We’ll […]

Don’t search with your eyes

When working of paper edits, I’ve found the fastest solution is to stop scrolling altogether and use the built-in search function.

Getting Stuff Written

John welcomes Grant Faulkner, Executive Director of NaNoWriMo and author of Pep Talks for Writers, to discuss the writing process and how to get out of your own way creatively. We explore the ubiquity of the Other Syndrome and the perils of envy. We also look at pen names, “throw-away writing,” and the advantages of […]

Movies Dodged a Bullet

John and Craig speculate about why the film industry fared better in the transition to digital while the music industry struggled. We also follow up on the WGA elections, hearing John’s priorities as a new board member. Lured back into the intrigue of MoviePass, we discuss new information on this business model. Then it’s another […]

Writing Other Things

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 […]

How Arlo Finch got his name

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.

The two kinds of title pages

Books have two title pages. Like most things that seem oddly wasteful at first glance, there’s a good reason for it.

Anthrax, Amnesia and Atomic Veterans

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.

I wrote a book.

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.

The Exit Interview

In the season finale of Scriptnotes, John and Craig reveal big changes to the podcast.

To Kill a Mockingbird

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.

Back to 100

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.

Live To Write Another Day, A Survival Guide for Screenwriters and Creative Storytellers

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.

Tales from Development Hell

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. […]

Getting rid of books

Now that I finally have room for all the books I’ve collected, I find I don’t really want them anymore.

In which Stuart reads the Save the Cat! books and tells you what he thought

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.

Optioning a novel, and the golden age of television

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?

How to write Groundhog Day

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.

Spelunking the Kindle market, cont’d.

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.

Screenwriting gurus and so-called experts

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.