Writing Movies for Fun and Profit

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.

The Variant and Snake People

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.

Readers as customers

Ken Auletta looks at how writers and publishers are trying to figure out their roles in the age of Kindles and iPads.

The Variant, free this weekend

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.

Free ebooks correlated with increased print-book sales

In books and in movies, increased sampling usually generates more sales than it costs.

How much should ebooks cost?

Adding up the publisher’s expenses shows there is plenty of room for flexibility in pricing.

Tales from the script

I’m interviewed in a new book about screenwriters’ experiences.

On Amazon, Apple and dick moves

When Amazon pulled Macmillan’s titles over the weekend, it was a dick move. With the iPad, Apple is setting itself up for a series of dick moves.

Can I use a book without permission?

No! Stop and re-assess. There are at least three options, but simply stealing the plot and characters isn’t one of them.

How I Became…on NPR

I twittered about it while it was happening, but if you missed it, author Steve Hely gave a nice interview on NPR’s Fresh Air this afternoon.

Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue

John H. McWorter’s book Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue is a worthy look at how English came to be.

How I Became a Famous Novelist

Steve Hely’s book is fast, funny, and will likely become the next movie I write and direct

Spelunking the Kindle market

How many books does Amazon sell on Kindle each day? Is there a classic long tail — and is it even worth being on it? Amazon is incredibly opaque with the details, even when you’re publishing on their system.

Kindle formatting for web geeks

If you feel comfortable hand-coding a site, you can get a book on Kindle in 30 minutes or less.

The Variant, a new short story

My short story The Variant is now available for download, including Kindle.

Kindle for iPhone

Long rumored, and now here. It’s free, and pretty darn good. The Whispersync feature suddenly makes a lot more sense. If you’re reading a book on your “real” Kindle at home, but find yourself with ten minutes to kill at the car wash, you can open the book to the exact same place on your […]

Movie speak

Terms that will save you some embarrassment on set, unless — writer — you start throwing them around like you know what you’re talking about.

Authors’ Guild vs. Kindle

Cory Doctorow makes many of the points I would about the Authors’ Guild’s grumpiness over the Kindle’s text-to-speech function.

Horses and books

In his lengthy essay about e-books, John Siracusa makes a good point about how new technologies rarely completely replace what came before them. Take all of your arguments against the inevitability of e-books and substitute the word “horse” for “book” and the word “car” for “e-book.” (…) “Books will never go away.” True! Horses have […]

Zombies, Bridesmaids and Assassins

A quick trip to London over the weekend gave me 20+ hours of plane time to catch up on reading. I finished three books. The first two had been sitting on my Kindle1, while the last is dead-tree-only at the moment. As I’ve mentioned before, screenwriters spend an inordinate amount of time thinking and talking […]

Manhunter = awesome

Stuff tends to stack up in the August household. We have systems in place to optimize magazine readership and recycling,1 but printed objects of which I am the sole reader — comic books, scripts, serio-comic novels purchased on an Amazon spree — have a tradition of piling up on the corners of desks and counters. […]

Mr. Sebastian and the Negro Magician

Daniel Wallace, the dashing and talented writer who wrote Big Fish (the novel), has a brand new book in stores for your purchasing pleasure: Mr. Sebastian and the Negro Magician. I read it a bazillion years ago — books take a surprisingly long time to go from manuscript to shelf — so I’ll let the […]

Silent Evidence

A few weeks ago, while answering the Grey’s Anatomy question which generated so much talkback, I found myself searching for a specific term I knew had to exist: the human tendency to consider only the samples presented, ignoring other relevant items. It felt like a fallacy, but it didn’t quite match up to any of […]