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Best Popular Screenwriting Podcast

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 […]

Relationships

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 […]

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.

Full Circle

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 […]

On Big Fish, inclusion and family-friendliness

“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.

True confessions of a knife-juggling bear

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.

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.

Introducing AlphaBirds

Today, we’re releasing a new game called AlphaBirds. It’s a word game like Scrabble or Boggle, but faster and more fun.

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 […]

Wait for It

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 […]

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.

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.

Dennis Lehane on novels vs. screenplays

This quote from Dennis Lehane on the difference between writing books and movies is spot-on, but worth a few clarifications.

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.

I live in Paris now

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.

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.

Three Days to One Hit Kill

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.

Outlines and Treatments

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.

The Script Graveyard

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?

Changing heroes mid-stream

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.

Tuesday Reviewsday

One of my goals for 2016 is to be better about writing reviews for the products I love. Every Tuesday I’ll be leaving reviews on the applicable store.

The road to becoming a professional artist

Noah Bradley, who illustrated several of the weapon cards for One Hit Kill, has a great post up about his journey to becoming a full-time professional artist.

Really Short Stories

Daniel Wallace, who wrote the novel Big Fish, sent me the syllabus for the college writing class he’s teaching, including a first-week requirement of a 100-word short story.