Concept is what brings the audience to a story. Theme is what they walk away with. I used to have a difficult time identifying the difference between writing terms like theme, concept, plot, structure, etc. And, to a large extent, there is crossover between them (which, I think, is part of the reason it can … Continue reading The Difference Between Concept and Theme
Imagine the above image is your story. The number of triangles represent the number of possible solutions for a problem in the story. Now imagine that you have to search through every triangle to find the precise one that fixes that aspect of your story. That's what writing feels like. At least to me. Most … Continue reading Looking at a story from every angle: And why writing can be so frustrating
Tips for using fewer words for greater impact I am not against adjectives or adverbs. They can help emphasize a point. Add cadence and flow. Even create a poetic feel to dialogue and narrative. However, sometimes adjectives and adverbs can do the opposite. They can bog a story down, hinder the flow of a sentence, … Continue reading Writing Without Adjectives and Adverbs
I find it incredibly helpful to ask myself: "What happens in this scene that causes the next scene to take place?" For me, this is a pretty quick way to figure out if the pacing of the story is as tight as it can be, and if the plot and characters are moving the story … Continue reading Writing Tip: Cause and Effect
Writing can be a slow process. And it can feel like the day-to-day progress is... well, not exactly much progress. But here we are, at the end of 2021. And I hope you can take a moment to reflect on your writing of the past year and find that progress has been made. Sometimes it's … Continue reading Happy New Year of Writing
By Ann Marie Williams © 2019 Many of the major screenwriting competitions begin releasing their written critiques to entrants around this time of year. So, I thought it might be helpful to post (or re-post) some tips for dealing with those critiques. However, these tips can be just as helpful for whatever format you're writing: … Continue reading Tips for Dealing with Feedback of your Story: Identify the True Source of the Problem
by Ann Marie Williams © 2021 It's not uncommon to see depictions of writers furiously typing away at their computer, pummeling out line after line of their story as inspiration and genius flows from their thoughts to their fingers. But the reality is, that only happens about 10% of the time (and that's being generous). … Continue reading Don’t Wait for Genius to Burn
© 2021 by Ann Marie Williams Concept gets them in the door... Story gets them to stay... Characters get them to come back... Yes, it's a super broad generalization. But I think this general idea is worth considering... Concept Gets Them in the Door A potential audience will be drawn to a project (a book, … Continue reading Concept. Story. Character.
by Ann Marie Williams © 2021 Writing takes time. Simple, I know. But I didn't realize I hadn't fully accepted this until last year when I quit agonizing over how long it was taking to fix aspects of my story. Once I accepted that it would take a while, I started making breakthroughs far quicker … Continue reading Writing Takes Time
by Ann Marie Williams © 2021 Entering a screenwriting competition with the hope of winning is a great goal. After all, if a screenwriting career is what you’re after, then winning (or placing highly in) the right competition has the potential to move you further along that career path. Moreover, the competitions that have a … Continue reading You Don’t Have to Win a Screenwriting Competition to Learn from the Process (if it’s the right competition for you)
by Ann Marie Williams, © 2020 One of the biggest roadblocks to my writing doesn’t stem from plot holes, character arcs, or finding ways to hide exposition. It’s that little voice that whispers, “There might not be a solution to this.” I firmly believe there is a solution for every problem a story encounters. That … Continue reading A Solution Exists
Think through your script: is there a moment where the audience would say, “Now’s a good moment to get more snacks”? If so, probably a good idea to revise (or delete) that part of the script.
On May 29, 2020, ISA hosted a conversation with with contest admins from the Austin Film Festival, Final Draft Big Break Screenwriting Contest, Cinequest, Great American Script Contest, HollyShorts and ISA about what makes a good contest script, how to rise up in the ranks of contests and how to pick the right ones for you. For … Continue reading UPDATE on ISA Presents: A CONVERSATION ON SCREENWRITING CONTESTS
5 lucky attendees will win a copy of Screenplay Competitions! For those who are interested, TODAY (May 29, 2020) at 1:00 p.m. PDT, ISA is hosting a conversation with with contest admins from the Austin Film Festival, Final Draft Big Break Screenwriting Contest, Cinequest, Great American Script Contest, HollyShorts and ISA about what makes a good contest script, … Continue reading ISA Presents: A CONVERSATION ON SCREENWRITING CONTESTS
by Ann Marie Williams Proper screenplay formatting requires that a certain amount of white space (a mix of description and dialogue) should appear on nearly every page of a script. Not only does this standard help measure the number of minutes the story will be once filmed, but it is also an accurate way to … Continue reading QUICK TIP: WHY SCREENPLAY DESCRIPTIONS NEED TO BE SHORT