We won’t fool around here. Let’s just say that the article below is a must-read for everyone who comes to TVWriter™. Yeah, that means you too, working writer visitors. Get your professional secrets while they’re hot:
by Eric Barker
Thanks to the internet, people are reading and writing more than ever. But is it me, or does it seem like the quality of that writing has gotten worse?
However, this can be a good thing. These days, solid writing really stands out. It can be a competitive advantage in anything you do.
Want to know how to improve your writing? Or have you ever thought about crafting the next great novel or screenplay? Want to know how to write like a pro?
Me, too. So I called my buddy Andy.
Andy was also a writer on many other big projects including Sleepy Hollow, The Hire, and Fight Club (you might notice in the credits that the three cops who attack Edward Norton are named “Andrew”, “Kevin” and “Walker.”)
His new book is Old Man Johnson.
Below you’ll learn:
- The thing that immediately tells readers you’re a good writer.
- How to surprise your audience.
- The mindset you need to write like a pro.
- The secret to effective collaboration.
- How to make readers feel something when they read your work.
And much, much more. Alright, ramblers, let’s get ramblin’…
1) How To Improve Your Writing
Andy recommends two things you can do to vastly improve your writing — whether you’re writing an email, a presentation for work or a screenplay for Hollywood. What’s the first one? Here’s Andy:
When I’m reading something, what lets me know if I’m in good hands or not is whether there’s a sense of structure to it.
Do you have a beginning, a middle and an ending? Does one build on the other? Is there a sense this is going somewhere? Does it seem like you have really thought this through? Here’s Andy:
Knowing where you’re going is key. If you don’t, how can you know what your theme is? How can you foreshadow anything? When you know what your ending is, then you know what you’re writing. It may change as you’re writing but I really feel like you have to have a “true north” that you’re heading toward — and that “true north” is your ending. You don’t have to know every detail of it. With Seven I always knew that there were going to be seven deadly sin murders. Therein lay the structure of it. Good cop was gonna become “wrath” in the end. With that I had a skeleton on which to build the spine of the story.
And other experts agree. When I interviewed UCLA Film School professor Howard Suber, he said structure was vital.
Good stories are built on the word “but”, not the word “and.” This insures that there are twists and turns, and a relationship between what came before and what will come after.