The Hard Road

A friend of mine is working on a horror story. In it he has a female protagonist and he questioned whether the trials he was putting her through were too tough...so let's explore what we…

Silent Characters

Back in Talking the Talk I started a discussion about dialog. This time around I'd like to give you some food for thought - there are some memorable characters that don't talk. Done right these…

Chappie: Robot Scifi Done Well

I was a huge fan of DISTRICT 9, and when I saw Neill Blomkamp was directing another scifi feature I hoped it would deliver on the high quality of his previous film. I was not…

Group Dynamics in Fiction

Most stories will revolve around more than one character. Sure, you'll have one character who's central to the story and who basically owns it - but you need more people for this character to interact…

Embrace the Absurdity

2015 saw me work on my first animated film, In the Dark (Full video at end of post). It was my first animation and (as of the time I'm writing this) it's been the most…

Sometimes All You Need is a Gag

Most of my posts center on how to set up a story. In this one I'd like to take a little bit of a different spin on filmmaking, screenwriting and writing and talk about another…

When There Are No Heroes

As I'm writing this the insanity known as National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) has begun, and a bunch of you people have leaped into the insanity head first. It's only a couple days in, so…

Recipe or no Recipe

I cook. Most of the time I'm making dinner for the family; occasionally I'll branch out and make something for a friend or a work potluck. There are times when I follow a recipe and…

Woman's feet in front of arrows painted on the ground

Smart People – Bad Decisions

A colleague downloaded and read a copy of THE TRIP. He had a few questions for me - and I think the answer to one of them could help you aspiring writers out there. So…

The Strong Character

In a good story, the audience will bond with the characters and care about them as the journey progresses. When they hurt, the audience cries for them. When they succeed the audience cheers for them.…

Outside the Comfort Zone

Been There, Done That When you write, chances are you're basing your work on your personal experiences in some way, shape or form. Most of us will do this early on, and this is why…

Mountain climber at sunset.

In the Middle

This is the second in a three-part series on structure. For more information, see: In the Beginning At Story's End In the Beginning dealt with the critical first act of your story. This post picks…

In The Beginning…

This is the first in a three-part series on story structure. For more information, see: In the Middle At Story's End I know, you've heard a good opening is critical to keep the reader going.…

Don’t Do This

In The Reader's Thoughts, I spoke about what I thought your story should have if you want a chance of making it past the gatekeepers. In this post, I'm going to talk about some things…

The Reader’s Thoughts

Earlier this year I served as a screenplay judge for the Shriekfest Film Festival. This was a great experience and I really enjoyed it. Since we're getting into submission time, I figured I'd share some…

Drawing of voodoo doll with bloody pins

Raising the Stakes

One of the elements of a great story is the sense of rising stakes. With every passing second or page, victory or failure couldn’t seem closer. The protagonist takes a step forward, two steps back,…