Stephanie Bourbon on Writing When All Hell is Breaking Loose

One of our fave writer-illustrator-screenwriting-vloggers, Stephanie Bourbon, returns to the interwebs after a hiatus with some words of encouragement for us all.

How to Stay Positive & Porductive–Still WRITE–During Dystopian-Er, I Mean, Tough Times
by Stephanie Bourbon

OMG, what a couple of months right? F*%$!! 

What is going on in the world? Is it ending? 

Do we all need to channel our inner Katniss? 

I seriously have never wanted to live in a Cormac McCarthy novel and I don’t intend on starting now!

So…how do we stay positive and continue to write when the world is crashing down on us?

Well, I have a few tips for you! 

The first one is just to FOCUS ON THE GOOD—whatever it is, focus on it, grab it, and hold on. Seriously it’s so easy to get wrapped up in the chaos and devastation happening and walk down that doomsday path but rather it’s best to stay focused on the good or have gratitude.

The second one is to remember why we write. You may do it just for your own pleasure and if that’s the case, see above. But most of us write because we have something to say to the world. If you write for children it is your job to help them come into their own with a sense of security, hope, and understanding. This is why we do it. TV and film have such a HUGE impact on the world–even fiction.

My life changed drastically because of THREE films—you want to know which ones?

FERRIS BUELLER’S DAY OFF–taught me not to take things so seriously and enjoy life a lot more than I had been. I went from being a Jeannie to being a Ferris that summer and I’ve been MUCH happier ever since….

Find out the second and third films that changed Stephanie’s life and see some cooler pics than we’ve shown you, at

Former Larry Brody student Stephanie Olivieri Bourbon has found great success as a writer, illustrator, and expert consultant. This article first appeared in her new blog at

Creating an Audio Drama as a Proof of Concept

Everything you need to know about why you should be producing your own Audio Drama AKA fiction podcast. (Sorry, but the interwebs still haven’t agreed on what name to call the most fascinating audio development in years.)

Anyway, here ’tis.

by Jackie Jorgenson

A bit of Background…I’m of the belief that if I can make my own opportunities I should. As an actor and a writer, I shouldn’t be waiting on someone else’s approval to gauge my fulfillment. So, I make a lot of my own content, which has been helpful in building my body of work.

I wrote this goofy little six-page costume drama that I wanted to produce. One set, 4 actors, and not a big deal, right? Well, it’s a big deal where my available budget is concerned. From what my research showed, getting historically accurate costumes would cost hundreds of dollars, and frankly, the payoff doesn’t make up for the price. Now, I love this piece. Don’t get me wrong. If I ever find a way to produce it, I will. But this was the point that I started thinking outside of the box. What if there was a way around my budgetary restrictions?

Why an Audio Drama?

Without the visual aspects of a short film, a web series, or a sizzle reel, an audio drama offers a cheaper alternative to the conventional proof of concept. This may not be an issue if you’re producing a comedy set in modern times, but when it comes to historical and fantasy pieces, costumes, set design, CGI, and hair and makeup can be crucial budgetary factors.

It also diversifies your work and your audience. People who may not commit to sitting down and watching the shorts on your Vimeo page may tune into your audio drama while they work out. There’s a marketing concept that you have to reach people in seven different ways for them to develop an interest in you. For example, someone would need your new short film mentioned…

  1. On your social media pages
  2. In a print article
  3. On public broadcast television
  4. At a film festival
  5. Through word of mouth
  6. On a local radio station
  7. In an advertisement

…before they say, “Hey, I think I should check that out!” The same arguably goes for your portfolio of work. If you are able to entertain in a new format, according to this theory, you may also open up new opportunities and find a new audience….

Read it all at

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.


Read it all at

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!


…Even if you’ve never been arrested!

Expert Advice from a Former Federal Agent
via Script Reader Pro

Thankfully, screenwriting isn’t just about “writing what you know.” It’s obviously also about creating and recreating worlds that you might have zero experience of.

So let’s say you want to write a script that involves a crime scene or police investigation scene… But you’ve never been involved with law enforcement.

Many aspiring writers don’t see a problem here. They just dive into writing the script—and fill in the blanks using their imagination.

They feel that because they’ve watched so many police procedural shows, they have a good enough idea of how crime scene investigators operate.

The vast majority then wind up suffering from a severe lack of believability.

Professional writers take a different tack.

They do research.

Writing a crime scene or a whole police investigation script with all the correct details in place will help make for a better story and, ultimately, a better chance of a sale.

Introducing Kirk Flashner: a law enforcement technical advisor…

One way of doing this is to enlist the help of a professional advisor who can read your script and let you know what you’re getting right in your crime scene and what you’re getting wrong.

If you’re writing a crime-based feature script or TV show, you should definitely consider hiring the expert services of a guy like Kirk Flashner.

For almost 27 years he was officially employed as a Federal Agent for the United States Government. He is now a technical advisor for film and TV—reviewing scripts to ensure technical accuracy for law enforcement practices and procedures.

Kirk has been kind enough to make a list of the more common misconceptions he finds in scripts when it comes to police investigation scenes and you can find his contact details at the end of the post….


10 Editing Tips That’ll Instantly Make You a Better Writer

Grammarcheck.Net continues to delight us with its helpful tips for writers of all media. Here’s the latest example.