Ever have a moment when a lightning bolt of advice about writing makes you stop in your tracks and say YES, so helpful, thank you, bless you, have a piece of chocolate.
Had one of those when I opened up my latest Written By, the Writers’ Guild magazine. Even though it’s a publication geared towards TV and movie writing, the advice in it knows no bounds.
Here it is: a little cartoon from a book entitled 101 Things I learned in Film School has two stick figures (stick figures!), one is the bad guy, the other is a cop. The cop says, “Police! Halt or I’ll shoot!” The bad guy says, “You caught me! But you’ll never take me alive!” That panel is labeled PLOT. Then in cartoon panel #2, the cop says, “Hmm… if I shoot him, maybe I’m the bad guy…” and the bad guy, who is climbing out the window says, “Why do I always run from my problems?” This panel is labeled STORY. “Whamo!” said my brain.
This cartoon reminds me of a tidbit from Lajos Egri in his book The Art of Dramatic Writing, as he compared these two sentences, “The king died” and “The king died… and the queen died of grief.” The latter pulls us in and takes us inside a character and her story.
Now leave this blog, grab your latest script (and some chocolate because everything goes better with chocolate), and see what you can do with this newfound clarity.Tweet