Don’t Try to Break the Pony, Work through the Story: An interview with contest winner Timothy J. Smith

TSB: Tim, thank you for taking the time to share your experience with other writers. How did you come up with the idea for Cooper’s War which became Cooper’s Promise? TJS: It’s somewhat convoluted. I had written a novel in which a straight, white FBI agent and gay, black CIA agent had teamed up to … Continue reading

Build a Core for your Main Characters

Your character is more than sex, age, and physical attributes.  The core of your character is what makes the audience get involved and care about what happens in the story.  Getting to the core of your characters inspires unique dialogue.  Knowing the basic character core confirms when your character is working—whether he is “right” or … Continue reading

The Two Scene Types: Part 2 – The Reactive Scene

The reactive scene doesn’t get as much attention as the proactive scene but it is equally important to move your story forward.  The reactive scene follows the proactive scene. The reactive scene begins with a Reaction, continues through most of the scene with a Dilemma, and concludes with a Decision.  It is not any more … Continue reading

Keep the Audience Riveted: Create Internal Conflict With the Dirty Dozen

Dark underground caves, steep rocky cliff edges, charging packs of Dobermans or any number of arms all have their place in creating tension.  Before you introduce these or your better mouse trap exploding helicopter scene make the audience care about your characters. Give the audience a flaw, a sensitivity, a weakness in your character that … Continue reading

Coincidence and Surprise: What’s the difference?

Your audience, whether readers or viewers, likes surprises but not coincidence.  Sometimes they can’t put their finger on the dissatisfaction but they feel it.  How can you avoid writing a coincidence and putting in more surprises? In real life your sister’s boyfriend may know someone in the D.A.’s office who tells him how the legal … Continue reading

Repetition, Subtext and Peeling the Onion Skin

In the real world speaking with others we often leave things unsaid, often because we can’t say it, won’t say it, don’t know how to say it, or don’t think it’s necessary to say it.  The part that is left unsaid in script dialogue is called “subtext.”  You can write a dialogue that is completely … Continue reading

Mystery, Action and…the Mush Stuff

I’m working on a screenplay.  Not much time for posting to the blog. For many writers of action and thriller the love scenes are tough to write.  Many times the women are cardboard characters–sweet girl-next-door, sexy vamp.  And, even if your characters are full-bodied (pun intended) writing about love is…well…hard to do without being pedestrian … Continue reading

Prompt Ideas from the Notebook: Feel free to play with them.

Something is wrong with my body.  I’m waiting for lab results. Pain is a system override so trying to think is difficult. Some recent prompts from the notebook. It’s official in any language. From the Italian dictionary word of the day: Giovedì, 24 Giugno 2010 La parola di oggi è: tonto / imbranato / nerd … Continue reading

Choosing a Character Name: like a key word for your reader

My first task for today was to rename the antagonist who has had the same name in my mind for over a year.  Though many of the characters in the story are based on real people with historically verifiable names, the antagonist comes from my imagination.  One of the challenges of creating historical fiction is … Continue reading

Before you kill the antagonist: Create a powerful villain for your protagonist to conquer

If I see an ending, I can work backward. ARTHUR MILLER I read foreign newspapers as well as those in the U.S. I find articles are great story prompts for story lines as well as ideas for characters. Recently  George Marèas in his blog for Le Monde, Police et cetera, wrote En effet, à … Continue reading

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