A year of living uncomfortably

Nathan Bransford, one of TVWriter™’s favorite writers and writing consultants is here with some thoughts about 2020, the year we can all probably agree in which we have been “living uncomfortably” indeed.


by Nathan Bransford

One of the double-edged swords of my personality is that I try really hard to find common ground with people.

On the one hand, seeking common ground forges connections; it recognizes shared experiences and our ultimate shared humanity. It makes me an agreeable person on the whole.

But sometimes the ground isn’t common. It’s a comfort to think we are all the same in the end, but it can be a fiction that minimizes the extent to which we don’t walk down the same streets in the same bodies.

By trying too hard to bridge gaps, you can end up minimizing crucial differences that deserve to be seen because they need to be acted upon rather than simply patched over.

Rejecting common ground is uncomfortable. Letting those differences explode into action that changes the world is uncomfortable. Facing an uncertain future is uncomfortable.

But sometimes we should be uncomfortable.

Unequal uncomfortableness should make us uncomfortable

The disease at the heart of this pandemic, which I have now thankfully recovered from, has one of the most fundamental and unnerving symptoms imaginable: it takes your breath away.

It’s uncomfortable, even when it doesn’t end up being debilitating or fatal….

Read it all at nathanbransford.com


Need help with your book? Nathan is available for manuscript edits, query critiques, and coaching!

For my best advice, check out Nathan’s guide to writing a novel (now available in audio) and his guide to publishing a book.

And if you like this post: subscribe to Nathan’s newsletter!

How To Write A Novel From Beginning To End Part 1

This is the kind of video our novel writing friends have been craving!

More to come at Tom Leveen’s YouTube Channel

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What does a theater company do when it can’t make theater? Make a film.

If there ever was a time that demanded that we put our actions where our mouths were and do what we do best, this is it. Here’s a fine example of truly positive thinking.


by Peter Marks

The idea struck Molly Smith, Arena Stage’s artistic director, on a morning of the pandemic when she was reading the newspaper and reflecting on what a theater company might make when it can’t make theater:

Capture the moment, in the manner of a news crew.

“Newspapers do really well with thumbnail sketches, and I thought, ‘Why aren’t we doing this?,’ ” she recalled. “What if we interviewed 10 diverse people in one day, with really good writers. A real snapshot in time. A love letter to this area. Something to say: ‘This happened here.’ ”And so, a renowned theater company has taken a novel turn — into moviemaking.

In short order, Arena found 10 actors, 10 playwrights and 10 ordinary people from in and around Washington — among them, a nurse on a covid-19 ward; a high school senior; a pharmacist; a police detective; a climate change activist. On a single day — May 22 — each writer contacted their subject, spent two or three hours in conversation, and then set about the task of turning their words into five-minute monologues. All of which, too, would be filmed on a single day.

The result is titled, crisply and dramatically, “May 22, 2020.” It debuts online Friday for those who have signed up for Arena Stage’s Supper Club — a dine-and-watch experience — and then it will be available free to the general public beginning Saturday on Arena’s website, arenastage.org, for the immediate future. The project includes such accomplished actors as Holly Twyford, KenYatta Rogers, Edward Gero, Rachel Zampelli, Dawn Ursula and Nancy Robinette. They were hired to recite speeches by such writers as Psalmayene 24, Karen Zacarias, Caleen Sinnette Jennings, John Strand and Annalisa Dias. It is all meant to evoke the style of Studs Terkel, the Chicago journalist who in his book “Working,” and other works, catalogued the verbatim accounts of average Americans….

There will be a time after this when…

Nathan Bransford, one of TVWriter™’s favorite writers and writing consultants is here with some thoughts about how those of us who write for print media – especially books – can make a difference in these chaotic times.


by Nathan Bransford

This week! Books! Also justice!

We’ve had an incredibly distressing week in America, and I know a lot of people are wondering how to get involved and support this movement to end systemic injustice and brutality.

There are tons of exhaustive resources out there, from bail funds to proposals for reform to call scripts for contacting local representatives.

I’m going to focus on the book world. This is by no means an exhaustive list and please feel free to add your own suggestions. But here are some things you can do.

You can buy from this list of Black-owned independent bookstores.

You can donate to We Need Diverse Books, an organization dedicated to ensuring all kids can see themselves in print.

You can give these appalling statistics a long, hard look and do whatever you can to pressure book publishers to stop paying lip service to diversity:

You can read this essay and reflect on how Black authors have continuously been forced to engage with white expectations for how Blackness is portrayed and contend with the immense pressure of the white gaze.

You can read about how Celeste Ng and Shea and Larami Serrano and others are taking diversity in publishing into their own hands and think about how you can do something similar.

And you can SUPPORT BLACK AUTHORS….

Read it all at nathanbransford.com


Need help with your book? Nathan is available for manuscript edits, query critiques, and coaching!

For my best advice, check out Nathan’s guide to writing a novel (now available in audio) and his guide to publishing a book.

And if you like this post: subscribe to Nathan’s newsletter!

There will be a time after this when…

Nathan Bransford, one of TVWriter™’s favorite writers and writing consultants is here with some thoughts about the fear many (all?) of us are living with right now.


by Nathan Bransford

One of the things I’ve noticed lately is that amidst the pandemic I’ve started worrying a ton about very small things.

Tiny intricacies of my business. Whether I should have used this or that word in an email. Whether I took too long to respond to a text.

I have plenty of big things to worry about! But for some reason these little nuisances are the things that keep me up at night.

It’s almost like my brain is grasping to find things to worry about that are actually within my control. All of my stress about the gigantic stuff that’s out of my hands is being dumped onto things that really don’t merit the weight.

On the one hand, this is a recipe for feeling super crazy. I know these aren’t things I would be worrying about in a more normal time and that disconnect can be maddening.

On the other hand… it’s actually kind of useful. It’s motivating me to make changes that will hopefully improve my business and make me a better person.

Fears can be useful

One of the things I learned when I was writing the Jacob Wonderbar series was that fear can be a really useful tool….

Read it all at nathanbransford.com


Need help with your book? Nathan is available for manuscript edits, query critiques, and coaching!

For my best advice, check out Nathan’s guide to writing a novel (now available in audio) and his guide to publishing a book.

And if you like this post: subscribe to Nathan’s newsletter!