John and Craig have a dialogue about dialogue. They discuss how thinking about memorizing lines can help write them, and how to service quieter characters in a scene. We also answer listener questions about adapting plays for the screen, creating a different experience for your reader than your viewer, and whether to trust sketchily worded […]
With book two coming soon, I made a trailer for the ARLO FINCH series. Please share it with anyone you think might dig it.
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 […]
John and Craig pack this business-centric episode with big picture conversations about guild negotiations, changes to the Oscars, the Disney/Fox merger, the Paramount Consent Decree, and the tragedy that is being unable to stream The Flamingo Kid. Links: Scriptnotes is now on Spotify! The Austin Film Festival is coming up on October 25th! Changes are […]
John and Craig discuss the importance and basics of developing relationships in storytelling. Characters are nothing without relationships, like Woody without Buzz, Shrek without Donkey, John without Craig… We then test these ideas about relationships against a fresh set of Three Page Challenges. Links: Arlo Finch covers look different around the world. You can catch […]
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.
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.
John and Craig talk about the way that movies tend to bring their stories full circle, and what that means for writers trying to figure out their story beats. They discuss rhyming, bookending and how properly setting up the central thematic question helps make the answer feel meaningful. We also answer listener questions about putting […]
“Family-friendly” shouldn’t mean ignoring reality. Let’s remember that in America there are all kinds of families, including ones with two dads, two moms, people of all gender identity, color and creed. Family-friendly is something bigger than it once was.
This profile on me by Dan Jackson in Thrillist was originally supposed to be about Arlo Finch and Launch, but grew into a bigger piece on the many different projects I tackle simultaneously.
On Saturday, April 28th, I’ll be at Chevalier’s Books on Larchmont from 3 to 5pm as part of Indie Bookstore Day.
Today, we’re releasing a new game called AlphaBirds. It’s a word game like Scrabble or Boggle, but faster and more fun.
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 […]
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 […]
John and Craig discuss suspense and its function in all genres, from thrillers to romcoms. They examine suspense of the known and of the unknown and the techniques available to construct it. We also answer listeners questions about registering scripts with the WGA, how to overcome creative paralysis and unconventional sluglines. Links: The WGA’s page […]
When working of paper edits, I’ve found the fastest solution is to stop scrolling altogether and use the built-in search function.
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.
This quote from Dennis Lehane on the difference between writing books and movies is spot-on, but worth a few clarifications.
Books have two title pages. Like most things that seem oddly wasteful at first glance, there’s a good reason for it.
I’m not here for work, or to escape this nightmare of an election. Rather, this sojourn has been in the planning stages for several years, going all the way to back to a screenwriters trip organized by Film France back in 2009. My daughter is attending sixth grade here. We’ll head back to Los Angeles for seventh.
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.
Next week we’re consolidating our One Hit Kill inventory, which means counting, boxing and shipping games from four different warehouses. So through Friday, we’re selling One Hit Kill at 50% off on Amazon.
John and Craig look at the non-screenplay things screenwriters end up writing, most notably outlines and treatments. We discuss some of the ones we’ve written (with examples), and offer advice on writing your own.
Where do screenplays go when they die? John and Craig take a look at their movies that never were, looking for patterns among dozens of their unproduced works. What can screenwriters learn from the dead, and is it ever worth trying to resurrect these flatliners?
As an animated film moves from screenplay to storyboards to scratch reels, you see the story coming to life — and the problems front-and-center.